In North America today, it is estimated that 100,000 Reform Jews - and 500,000 members of the larger Jewish community - are gay or lesbian.
Over the last fifteen years, the UAHC has admitted to membership four synagogues with an outreach to gay and lesbian Jews. Hundreds of men and women who once felt themselves alienated from Judaism and unwelcome in mainstream congregations have joined these synagogues, adding their strength and commitment to our religious community.
In 1977, the UAHC General Assembly called for an end to discrimination against homosexuals, and expanded upon this in 1987 by calling for full inclusion of gay and lesbian Jews in all aspects of synagogue life.
While that resolution urged that congregations not discriminate in employment, it did not address rabbinic employment, pending the report of the CCAR ad hoc Committee on Homosexuality and the Rabbinate. The CCAR Committee continues its work, and we eagerly await its report.
Within the larger context of UAHC congregational life, however, we have yet to shed the destructive anti-gay and anti-lesbian prejudices and stereotypes that preclude a genuine embrace of the heart.
Our union of congregations must be a place where loneliness and suffering and exile end, where gay and lesbian Jews can know that they are accepted on terms of visibility, not invisibility; that we place on limits on their communal or spiritual aspirations.
THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:
- Reaffirm its 1987 resolution and call upon all departments of the UAHC and our member congregations to fully implement its provisions.
- Embark upon a movement-wide program of heightened awareness and education to achieve the fuller acceptance of gay and lesbian Jews in our midst.
- Urge our member congregations to welcome gay and lesbian Jews to membership, as singles, couples and families.
- Commend the CCAR for its sensitive and thorough efforts to raise the consciousness of the rabbinate regarding homosexuality. We urge the CCAR to pursue its own mandate with vigor and complete its tasks as soon as possible in order to respond to the communal and spiritual aspirations of gay and lesbian Jews.