New York, NY; June 9, 2020 - ReformJudaism.org, the flagship website of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), reaching more than three million visitors annually, has launched season two of its podcast Wholly Jewish. Reform Judaism is the largest, most diverse movement in Jewish life, and, just in time for Pride Month, this season will continue to celebrate its diversity by sharing stories from Jewish members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Created as both an affirmation of the many things we all share in common and the things that make us unique, Wholly Jewish was created by the URJ to spotlight and elevate the diverse voices of Jews on the margins. Hosted by April Baskin (she/her), the URJ’s former Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Season 1 shared the various perspectives and lived experiences of fellows from the JewV’Nation Fellowship’s Jews of Color Leadership Cohort.
Wholly Jewish Season 2, hosted by performance and ritual artist Shira Kline (she/her), continues this mission by interviewing fellows from the JewV’Nation Fellowship’s LGBTQIA+ Cohort. These 13 Jewish leaders openly share their experiences as Jewish members of the LGBTQ+ community and the ways their “Jewish and…and” identities intersect and contribute to who they are as individuals. This podcast also seeks to explore the many ways URJ congregations and communities can become more inclusive and equitable to those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and our families.
“What I love most about this newest season is that through each Fellow’s story, listeners are immersed into a part of the Jewish community they may have had little familiarity with,” said Rabbi Leora Kaye (she/her), the URJ’s Director of Program and the Executive Producer of Wholly Jewish. “And my hope is that any listener who is part of the LGBTQ+ community can resonate and connect with the stories told through these episodes and know that they’re seen, that their identities are valid, and that, in an especially disconnected time like this, they’re not alone.”
In an upcoming episode, Max Antman (he/him) says, “I grew up in a really progressive area, at a really forward thinking synagogue with rabbis and leaders who not only took an interest in youth of non-dominant identities, but really prioritized education around race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity.” Antman adds, “…I grew up understanding Judaism as encompassing all of those things and that I'd never have to choose between my identity as a gay man and my Judaism. I don't think that - and in fact I know, that that's not the experience of everyone and it's a real privilege that I have.”
Eliana Rubin (she/her) says, “Combining my queerness and my Judaism is all about acceptance and learning and positive challenges and change…fostering this idea [that] we don't have to hold ourselves to who we were as people; we are constantly changing and we should let ourselves do that.”
ReformJudaism.org’s other weekly podcasts, On The Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, hosted by Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him), President of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Stories We Tell, are consistently among the most popular religion podcasts on iTunes. Since its launch in March 2013, ReformJudaism.org has reached more than 13 million users, becoming a popular destination for people seeking information about Jewish life, practice, learning, culture, and social justice from a modern Jewish perspective. ReformJudaism.org offers “how-to” videos, holiday guides, recipes, Torah commentaries, blessings, information about Israel, articles on parenting, Jewish practice and rituals, social justice and advocacy, and a lively blog. Visit ReformJudaism.org to find answers to questions, educational information on Jewish practice and holidays, a directory of Reform Jewish congregations, listings of Judaism classes across North America, and more.
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 850 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
Visit us at www.URJ.org to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.