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.
With Simchat Torah around the corner, we’re thinking about the resources the Jewish community needs to be more inclusive, welcoming, and a safer environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning individuals and families.
A special thanks to Keshet educator Suzie Schwartz Jacobson for helping to compile these resources!
Make sure your library has current LGBT books and media:
Often times when students are questioning their sexuality or gender identification, they will turn to the internet for information and support. But, they may also look for books, movies, magazines, and other materials. Be sure to have updated and current LGBT resources, and have them readily available and prominently displayed. Librarians, educators, and other administrators should be made aware of these resources and be available to help LGBT students find and access them. Click here, here, here, and here for lists of LGBT books and media.
Provide training for your staff, lay leadership, and community members:
Once your organization has committed to the full inclusion of LGBT individuals and families it is important to provide your community with the skills they need to put these goals into action. In a training, all stakeholders will have the opportunity to gain tools and resources, reflect on the needs of your population, and learn more about how to create inclusive community. Click here to find out more about Keshet trainings.
Collect and share resources on Jewish LGBT issues and topics:
Luckily, you do not need to reinvent the wheel when introducing LGBT issues and ideas to your community. There are many resources out there to help you.
Keshet provides many resources on our website including:
- Torah Queeries, textual interpretation of Torah and Jewish holidays from a LGBT lens;
- “Wrestling with God,” a collection of classical texts that deal with sexuality, gender and theology;
- and Trans Texts, a resource created by Rabbis Reuben Zellman and Elliot Kukla, which explores what traditional Jewish texts have to say about transgender and gender nonconforming experiences and gender in general.
And, here are a few other resources that may be relevant to your institution:
- Trans Torah, a website that seeks to help institutions like you become more trans- inclusive, and collects excellent resources, rituals, videos and text studies;
- The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, which has many useful articles and other resources;
- The It Gets Better Project, a collection of videos and resources gathered to show teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone;
- Jewish Organization Equality Index, tools for Jewish institutions wanting to be more inclusive of LGBT individuals;
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Institute for Welcoming Resources, resources for LGBT inclusion in many religions;
- and “I am: Trans People Speak”, a collection of trans and ally voices from a range of personal experiences.
Make sure your institution is in Keshet’s Equality Guide:
The Equality Guide is simple way for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Jews and their loved ones to find inclusive Jewish clergy and institutions and learn about their policies and practices.
What steps will you be taking to make your Jewish community more inclusive?
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Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.