Abby Stein grew up in an insular, Hasidic community in Brooklyn. When she realized she wanted a different kind of life, she contacted Footsteps, an organization that helps formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews integrate into mainstream society. It turns out, that would be only her first transition. This story begins with Part One.
I often wonder what my life would look like were I a few years younger. Given how quickly the world has changed in my lifetime, I suspect my life might look rather different.
May Peleg-Friedman, the Jerusalem Open House’s first trans chairperson and former owner of Jerusalem’s only queer nightclub “Mikveh” took her own life on Friday night at the age of 31.
The history of transgender and non-gender conforming people in the Reform Movement goes back further than we might initially realize. There were two Reform responsa in 1978 and 1990, respectively, that addressed related issues: A 1990 responsum (CCAR 5750.8) affirmed that being transgender alone is not a basis to deny someone conversion to Judaism. A 1978 responsum affirmed that a rabbi may officiate at the wedding of two Jews if one partner has transitioned to the gender with which they identify, as opposed to the one they were assigned at birth (“Marriage After a Sex-change Operation” in American Reform Responsa, Vol. LXXXVIII, 1978, pp. 52-54).
Throughout the month, in partnership with RAVSAK, Keshet is celebrating 10 years of Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School. As Eliana’s story shows, role models are an important part of the coming out process. We are so pleased to share this personal reflection from an incredibly bright and talented young person, who has found a space to be herself within the Jewish community.
A dozen or so years ago, I was working as an educator at a large Conservative synagogue in the suburbs of Boston. Gay marriage was on the verge of legalization – and therefore on the front page of the newspaper every day.