Author Archives: Jessica Leving

Jessica Leving

About Jessica Leving

Jessica Leving is currently the Program Associate for BBYO’s Great Midwest Region in Chicago, Ill., and previously worked for BBYO in Nashville, Tenn. Before joining the BBYO team, Jessica worked as a marketing intern at a non-profit organization in Boston. She has also worked as a reporter for The Jerusalem Post, USA Today, and several other newspapers. Jessica is a graduate of Boston University where she received a B.S. in Journalism and Anthropology. She is currently a participant in BBYO's Professional Development Institute (PDI), a graduate studies program in which she is working toward an MBA from Indiana University and a Certificate in Informal Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Boston.

A Crash Course in Being a Professional Ally to LGBTQ Youth

“I have friends I can be Jewish with, and friends I can be queer with, but I’ve never had a space to be both Jewish and queer.”
– Shelby, 16

 “I feel really isolated at my high school… it’s good to come to a place like this and finally feel like I’m part of a community.”
– Frankie, 18

“Being in a place where so many of us share the same labels means we can shed them at the door – Here, I don’t have to be the Jewish kid, or the gay kid; I can just be myself.”
– Sky, 18

Teens and staff at the 2nd LGBTQ Teen and Ally Shabbaton

Teens and staff at the 2nd LGBTQ Teen and Ally Shabbaton

Sentiments such as these were common at the Jewish LGBTQ and Ally Teen Leadership Retreat in early January, a joint project of Keshet and the Isabella Freedman Center, with support from the UJA Federation – and the second ever event of its kind. The weekend was a follow-up to the first LGBTQ Teen and Ally Shabbaton in August, when about a dozen LGBTQ Jewish  teens and allies met for the first time to share their stories and make new friends. This winter, those teens, along with some new additions to the group, came together not only to create new memories as a now inseparable group of friends, but also to develop their leadership skills. They also came together to begin to plan and design a future event that will attract close to 100 Jewish LGBTQ teens and allies, to create and connect a critical mass of change makers for the queer Jewish teen community.

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Posted on January 24, 2013

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