Tag Archives: youth

Day of Silence: Why You Won’t be Hearing From Keshet Today

One day each year, students across the country pledge to take some form of silence in order to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.

BlackBox

Learn how your Jewish community can support Day of Silence.

Posted on April 11, 2014

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Day of Silence and the Power to Speak

When she was only in sixth grade, Caroline came to Keshet with an idea: organizing an official Day of Silence at her middle school as her Bat Mitzvah project. She spoke at the Keshet Cabaret this month about her involvement with GLSEN, her passion for Day of Silence, and her own coming out.

Caroline continues to be an outspoken advocate against LGBT bullying. To learn more about Day of Silence resources for your Jewish community, visit the Keshet website.

Posted on April 8, 2014

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Coming Out at Shabbat Dinner

Coming out is hard. Coming out to your family at Shabbat dinner is really hard. Take a look at how one family reacted to their son’s news, and help us work towards a truly inclusive Jewish community.

 

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Posted on April 1, 2014

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Hanukkah Gift Guide for Jewish Rainbow Pride

This gift guide is specially tailored to lovers of rainbow pride, Judaism, and the lucky individuals who live the intersection of both. We’ve got everything from silly to serious. Take a look!

You should also check out our Hanukkah Basics Shopping Guide“Shalom, Y’all!” Southern & Jewish Gift Guide, and our Hanukkah Gift Guide for your Favorite Camp Kid.

Hail your rainbow pride every time you walk through the door with this beautiful Metal and Glass Rainbow Mezuzah ($39.99).

newrainbowmez

Say it loud and say it proud in this I Love Jewish Girls T-Shirt ($29.50). Don’t worry, there’s an I Love Jewish Boys one, too!

ILOVEJEWISH

The Purim Superhero ($7.16) is a children’s book about Purim that just happens to feature a two-dad family. We love how unremarkable that fact of little Nate’s life is. Oh, and it’s a really cute story involving an alien costume.

keshetpurim

Sport your pride with this LGBT pendant, Rainbow Ray Star of David Necklace ($15.99). Makes a great gift.


PENDANTLIFE

Following an ancient tradition, Torah Queeries ($23.40) brings together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a queer lens. This incredibly rich collection unites the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight-allied writers, including some of the most central figures in contemporary American Judaism.

torahqueer

Keep Your Wives Away from Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires ($12.50) gives voice to genderqueer Jewish women tell the stories of their coming out or being closeted, living double lives or struggling to maintain an integrated “single life” in relationship to traditional Judaism.

orthdo

A Queer and Pleasant Danger ($13.13) tells the true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology, and leaves 12 years later to become the lovely lady she is today, Kate Bornstein.

queer

Milk ($6.79) is a biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk–the first openly gay person elected to public office in California.

MILKYMILK

We hope these picks help you narrow down your gift search for yourself, your family, and your friends!

Posted on November 13, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Queer Jewish Dating

What does it mean to be Jewish and queer? What about dating queer and Jewish? Does it make a difference?

Creative Common/Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Creative Common/Minneapolis Institute of Arts

I am Shaily Hakimian from Lincolnshire, Illinois studying elementary education at Indiana University. I have been working in the LGBT movement since I was 14 – so about 8 years. I grew up going to Solomon Schechter Day School where I received a Conservative Jewish education as a Sephardic Jew living in America. My dad is from Iran and my mom is from Morocco, though she spent part of her life in Israel. My mom has always had a strong connection to Judaism. Though we have slipped slightly in our observance of kashrut among other things, she still pushes me on a regular basis to marry Jewish. G-d forbid I don’t meet someone Jewish.

I always think of what it would be like bringing someone who was not Jewish to Israel to meet my family. What would my cousins think? In Israel, the chances of a Jewish person not marrying another Jew are slim. But in the U.S., the chances of that happening are far greater. Over the years I have tried to understand why my mom and other relatives always pushed this so hard on me. Why is it so important for me to date Jewish? Continue reading

Posted on July 15, 2013

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Queer, Trans*, and In Israel

Living in Israel, for me, meant mastering the art of feigning ignorance. “Ani lo mevin, ani lo mevin. Rak midaber englit v sfardit,” I would often say. “I don’t understand, I don’t understand. I only speak English and Spanish.”

But I always knew exactly what the stranger in the kibbutz cafeteria or the shop-owner in the shuk or the security guard by the bathroom was saying as he chuckled to himself and asked, “Atah ben o bat?” with eyebrows raised. His Hebrew translates to, “Are you a boy or a girl?” but really what he’s getting at is, “Come on, really?” He’s reminding me that I am a puzzle to be figured out for his amusement, and that because I am a puzzle (read: not a human), it is A-OK to ask me rude questions.

Creative Common/David Weinberger

Creative Common/David Weinberger

Throughout my stay in Israel, strangers and friends alike would ask me this question in an array of rude ways. And though I often felt hurt and disappointed by the ease with which those around me seemed to prioritize a few laughs and quick satiation of their curiosities over my well-being, as I look back at my stint in Israel, it’s difficult for me to blame these perpetrators. As far as I, someone raised in America who lived in Israel for only six months and is and was far from culturally integrated into Israeli society, can tell, gender separation is the law of the land of Israel; it’s as Israeli as hummus or yelling. Continue reading

Posted on July 5, 2013

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She Is Who He Is

When teens transitions to a new gender, what happens to the rest of the family? In November, we shared a post from the perspective of a daughter whose father transitioned to being a woman; now, we’re bringing you the first of two essays written by a sibling. Sophie, a high schooler whose sister (now brother) transitioned within the last few years, writes here about what the beginning of those changes felt like for her as a sister. In her next essay, she’ll discuss her brother’s eventual surgery.

Creative Common/praline3001

Creative Common/praline3001

I would first like to start out by saying I love my brother.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. In my life, he is the person I have spent the most time with. Unlike most siblings, we are best friends. I am proud to say that even with all that we are going through, it had made us even closer. Still at such a young age, he has gone through so much and I will always be there for him. The following group of memories show my struggles and my acceptance of who my brother is and part of why I love him. Continue reading

Posted on June 21, 2013

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A Jew. A Queer. But a Jewish Queer? Keshet Youth Shabbaton Reflection

I’ve never been one to have high expectations. I tend to take situations as they come and to be spontaneous in my decision making. That being said, I didn’t have any idea what I was in for as I stepped out of van and onto the cold snowy ground of the Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut this January.

At the Keshet Shabbaton

Shelby, third from left, at the Keshet Shabbaton

Maybe I was subconsciously hoping the sky would be teeming with a myriad of rainbows, the clouds would part, and beautiful, teenage, gay women would fall from the sky, dancing to the hora and studying Torah.

Well, that didn’t happen. However, the weekend Keshet had in store for me and other LGBTQ Jewish youth at the second LGBTQ Jewish Teens and Allies Shabbaton was equally as magical.

 

Continue reading

Posted on April 17, 2013

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Keeping Safe Spaces Safe

Jordan Daschow and Joanna Ware at Teen Shabbaton

Jordan Dashow, Tufts student and Keshet intern, and Joanna Ware, Keshet’s Lead Organizer and Training Coordinator, at Keshet’s LGBTQ Teen and Ally Shabbaton, January, 2013.

“If it doesn’t bring more love into the world, it probably isn’t religion.”

The date was October 13, 2010, and I was at Tufts University’s Coming Out Day Rally. At the rally, Tufts University’s Jewish Chaplain, Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, spoke about the importance of not just tolerating people’s differences but embracing them and told the crowd the statement quoted above. This message was so simple, yet so powerful — and so powerfully different from what I expected a religious leader speaking about LGBTQ issues to say.

Growing up, I attended a Conservative Jewish Day School from kindergarten until 12th grade. Throughout high school, I struggled to come to terms with my sexual orientation and my religious beliefs. I was forced to grapple with these issues alone, as my high school did not offer any support for queer students and in general ignored their existence. As far as I know, no one has ever come out in my high school (though one student who was already out transferred in) and homophobic comments, including the commonly repeated phrase “that’s so gay,” went unchallenged. Consequently, I never felt safe coming out in high school.

Continue reading

Posted on March 25, 2013

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LGBTQ Jewish Teen and Ally Shabbaton

LGBTQ Teen and Ally ShabbatonWe’ve been really inspired by the posts penned by some of the teens and staff who attended the LGBTQ Jewish Teen and Ally Shabbatons organized by Keshet and The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Participants have been writing about their experiences, their identities, and the complicated and intricate ways that they navigate both. They’ve already covered coming out at an Orthodox day school and deciding to go “stealth” about trans identity, and one BBYO professional who staffed both retreats shared what it means for her, as a Jewish professional, to be an ally to LGBTQ teens.

These teens have shared their written words, and now we’re excited to for you to meet them in this short video! We’ll continue to run regular columns form LGBTQ and ally teens — stay tuned!

 

Posted on March 7, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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