Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), memorializes trans individuals who have died because of anti-transgender discrimination and victimization. It occurs annually on and around November 20 each year. We invite you to explore, learn, and participate with your Jewish community this year. Below are some resources to get you started. And if you missed our earlier post by Rafi Daugherty, on why marking this day is important, you can find it here.
See how Jewish organizations are observing TDOR this year and check out events happening around the country.
This Hanukah guide, part of the Ask Big Questions/Hillel, is perfect for group discussions about the risks and rewards of taking a stand. The guide features an important, moving essay by author S. Bear Bergman about the intersection of Hanukkah and Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Includes tips for hosting a successful remembrance event, guiding principles, ideas for events, and planning tips.
A prayer (in English) written by Rabbi Reuben Zellman on the occasion of TDOR.
In this d’var Torah, professor, poet, and Keshet board member Joy Ladin retells the biblical stories of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac through the lens of their gender and life transitions as a way for transgender readers to find themselves in the Torah.
In this sermon about identity and self-understanding, Kadin Henningsen highlights the ways that characters in this Torah portion come to know themselves and what we as LGBT people can glean from this.
Additional resources on transgender Jewish issues
For many transgender people and people who don’t conform to societal gender norms, using a public restroom is a daily struggle. Use this sign at your next event to explain why you have created an all-gender bathroom.
From the Keshet Blog
- Finding Fallen Sparks in the Mosh Pit: The drummer of the popular transgender and Jewish band Schmekel shares their search to find a Jewish community that finally felt right.
- Why I Care About Trans Day of Remembrance as a (“Cisgender”) Gay Man: Dan Schulman explains the importance of being a trans ally, and why that “T” in LGBT is so vital.
- Dear Abby: My Parent is Transgender: Who better to field questions about what a kid of a trans parent might be going through than a kid of a trans parent?
- My Jewish Transgender Journey: In this powerful first-person piece our Colorado Community Organizer, Rafi Daugherty, shares his path to finding himself as a trans Jew.
- Shipwrecked with God: In this profoundly personal post for Yom Kippur, poet and professor Joy Ladin explores the book of Jonah, coming to terms with her identity as a woman, and her relationship with God.
- Learning to Return to Myself: Emily Aviva Kapor reflects on her identity as a trans woman, and what the season of teshuva, return and repentance, looks like now that she is listening to her own “still, small inner voice.”
- She who is He: When her sister became her brother, everything and nothing changed for this Jewish teen.
- Queer, Trans*, and In Israel: What’s it like being a queer Jewish trans* American in Israel
- Transforming Stories: A Small Revolution in a Synagogue Book Group: What happens when a trans* rabbinical student introduces Joy Ladin’s powerful memoir to her synagogue book group?
- Kavod ha’Meit: Trans Issues for the Hevra Kadisha: Eight questions a hevra kadisha should ask to make Jewish rituals for death more inclusive of transgender Jews.
- Living “Stealth,” As a Convert and a Trans Person: A teen talks about why he no longer feels like he always needs to come out as trans, or as a convert to Judaism.
- Wrapping Myself in the Fringes: For Emily Aviva Kapor, creating a tallit that affirmed her trans identity was a healing process.
Honor a transgender Jewish hero
“I AM: Trans People Speak” Videos
Check out this series of videos of transgender Jews and allies to trans Jews. Tremendous gratitude to Keshet members Alex, David, Stacy, Stephanie, and Suzie for sharing your lives with us and to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition for this project.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Pronounced: tah-LEET or TAH-liss, Origin: Hebrew, prayer shawl.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.