LGBTQIA

LGBTQIA

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To strengthen the leadership of Reform Jewish communities throughout North America, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is investing in 13 individuals as participants in the JewV’Nation Fellowship’s LGBTQIA+ Leadership Cohort. This program focuses on strengthening Reform Judaism by increasing opportunities for Reform Jewish communities to learn from and be led by Jewish leaders who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Peoples hands together in a circle as if they are working together or celebrating

The URJ's successful JewV’Nation Fellowship is expanding to include a new LGBTQIA+ cohort – and there's no better time for it.

April Baskin
JewV'Nation Fellow Sarah Kipp

Her video, Sarah hopes, will help viewers bond with people sharing their stories, as well as prompt a shift within the larger culture.

 

Toby Singer
URJ VP of Audacious Hospitality April Baskin stands in a classroom and gestures with her hands as she teaches a room full of participants in the URJ Keshet training partnership

A year-long initiative, the URJ-Keshet Youth Leadership Project, aims to improve inclusivity in our Reform youth programs. It is the largest implementation yet of Keshet’s work

Toby Singer and Rachael Brill
The word EQUALITY spelled out in wooden Scrabbble tiles sitting atop a rainbow printed surface

Understanding is only half the battle. Progress is achieved on a continual basis, and to create truly inclusive spaces for LGBTQ people, organizations must do more than understand the issues.

Max Antman
Cupped hands holding a paper cutout of two male shaped stick figures with a heart between them

In honor of Pride Month, we’ve rounded up resources that will help your congregation better practice audacious hospitality to the LGBTQ community.

April Baskin

In recent days, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has been under a blistering attack by various political and social groups. On the eve of the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, whose theme this year will be a memorial to 16-year-old Shira Banki, who was stabbed to death at last year's parade by an ultra-Orthodox extremist, there is a heavy feeling in the LGBT community.v

Rabbi Noa Sattath

What is the proper religious response to acts of barbarism like the massacre we saw perpetrated against members of the LGBT community in Orlando on Sunday?

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Already this month, we have celebrated inclusion in its many forms: making congregations accessible to those with disabilities, highlighting women's stories in the Torah and Talmud, breaking the Jewish glass ceiling for women, and of course, celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month. Women of Reform Judaism was ahead of its time and the entire Reform Movement in 1965, when it publicly supported the decriminalization of homosexuality. Since then, WRJ has not stopped speaking up for LGBTQ people and their rights as citizens and as Jews - and the entire Reform Jewish Movement has now joined in.

As a young, queer Jew growing up in a Reform synagogue, I didn't know that these resolutions were being made - that the women in our temple sisterhood were a part of a larger movement to support LGBTQ rights. But I never worried about acceptance in my community. Our small post-confirmation class with the rabbi frequently discussed Reform & Conservative Judaism's support of same-sex marriage. Our adult youth group advisors were a lesbian couple who were married by our rabbi. I knew that if and when I came out, it would be okay.

We all know that the Reform Movement supports LGBTQ Jews, but how can congregations, sisterhoods, and brotherhoods put this audacious hospitality into practice? Here are some ideas:

June is here, and in honor of LGBT Pride Month, we're sharing suggestions for welcoming LGBTQ members into your congregation and community. Do you have ideas to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below!

  1. Celebrate Gay Pride Month (June) with a special Shabbat service. Invite LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer) members to participate and include readings that speak to the experience of being both Jewish and LGBTQ. Consider having a guest speaker deliver a sermon or have a panel of congregants at the oneg to discuss how LGBTQ issues affect their congregational and personal lives.
  1. Phrase your congregational publicity in a way that is inviting to all people. In your congregational advertising, make sure that the LGBTQ population is specifically welcomed at all congregational events.
  1. Review your temple website to make sure that it is welcoming to LGBTQ Jews. Rather than using terms such as “alternative lifestyles” or “non-traditional families,” use language such as, “We proudly welcome members of the LGBTQ community,” or “We welcome LGBTQ Jews and their families.”