Welcome to the Keshet blog, a place for musings on all things LGBTQ and Jewish. The blog is hosted by our friends at MyJewishLearning.com, the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. Take a tour of our posts below and let us know if there’s something you’d like to see us blog about. If you are interested in contributing to the blog, let us know!
Kol Yisrael Aravim Zeh Bazeh: All Israel Is Responsible for One Another
September 18, 2014
One of my family’s favorite Sarah Silverman
routines plays on the Jewish habit of always claiming one of our own: “You know that self-hating, Jew for Jesus, Holocaust denier—
Jewish!” So when I emailed an article about the recent Louisiana court decision against marriage equality
to my son, a law student, I noted: “You know that anti-equality, out-of-step-with-the-times-judge?—
Why do we do this?
Why does it matter?
I think our instinct to do this is an expression of our emotional sense of connection, of family with other Jews. Our tradition names this in the value kol yisrael
… Read More »
Beyond the Binary: Gender Fluidity
September 17, 2014
Curious about gender? Check out this program the Chicago branch of the Keshet Parent & Family Connection is running on Gender Fluidity this week. If you are a parent or a family member of an LGBT individual looking for support, visit www.keshetonline.org/supportfamilies for more info about our program for parents and family of LGBT Jews.
The “gender binary” tells us that there are two ways to live in this world: as a man (who likes masculine things, dresses in masculine ways, has a masculine profession, etc) or as a woman (who likes feminine things, dresses in feminine ways, has… Read More »
12 Months of Inclusion – 1 Month at a Time
September 16, 2014
Want to make your organization more inclusive? Take a look at the images you include in your materials- are you representing the diversity of your community? CJP, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation, just released their 2015 calendar and with it, showed their commitment to inclusion.
The month of August features two brides signing their ketubah. (And, as an added bonus, these brides are the daughter and daughter-in-law of an active Keshet Parent & Family Connection Parent and Keshet board member!) We sat down with Julie Somers, CJP’s Vice President of Marketing, to get the scoop on the calendar.
profiles so… Read More »
Federations Get serious About LGBTQ Inclusion
September 11, 2014
This summer the UJA-Federation of New York hosted a Community Conversation on LGBTQ Engagement, a conference convened to discuss ideas of LGBTQ inclusion in Jewish institutions. Earlier, Keshet shared a prayer Rabbi Ellen Lippmann offered. We know you’ll appreciate the reflections of Jill Schreibman, a conference participant and long time LGBTQ advocate.
When my supervisor told me that UJA-Federation of New York
was hosting a conference on LGBTQ engagement in the Jewish community, I was delighted that they were beginning a dialogue but couldn’t imagine how they would appeal to the vast range of experiences that would be represented in the… Read More »
Is Your Hillel Inclusive?
September 10, 2014
As students return to college campuses, now is a great time to be thinking about how LGBTQ inclusive your Hillel can be. Here are several suggestions to make your Hillel more inclusive, welcoming, and a safe environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning individuals and families. Even if your campus doesn’t have a Hillel, you can adopt these practices for any student group. A special thanks to Keshet educator Suzie Schwartz Jacobson for helping to compile the original version of this guide—which can be found on the Keshet website.
Create Inclusive Policies:
Both current and potential… Read More »
A Conversation on Being Champions of Memory
September 9, 2014
By Rabbi Matthew V. Soffer
Last week our Boston community sat down for a conversation with Ayala Katz, mother of one of the victims of the 2009 Tel Aviv LGBT youth center shooting. Jayne Guberman, a founding member and mentor for the Keshet Parent & Family Connection, moderated the conversation with Ayala about their shared experience parenting LGBTQ children, Ayala’s fierce LGBTQ rights activism in response to her son Nir’s tragic death, and the strength she and her family draw from one another.
The program opened with a d’var Torah from Rabbi Matthew Soffer from Temple Israel of Boston. We know
… Read More »
Parashat Ki Tavo: Fine-Tune Your Spiritual Hearing
September 8, 2014
By Maggid Jhos Singer
Jews read sections of the Torah each week, and these sections, known as parshiyot, inspire endless examination year after year. Each week we bring you regular essays examining these portions from a queer perspective, drawn from the Torah Queeries online collection, which was inspired by the book Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible.
This week, our reflection comes from Maggid Jhos Singer, who shows that standing up as a Jew takes guts and deep self-knowing.
This week’s Torah Portion, Ki Tavo, reads like it might have been penned by Jimmy Swaggart
… Read More »
Ask Asher: It Gets Better
September 4, 2014
By S. Asher Gelman
Read More »
Have a question about LGBTQ life? Jewish life? LGBTQ Jewish Life? Ask Asher! Send your questions to AskAsher@keshetonline.org and you might be featured in our next column.
Q: What do I do if my rabbi is against my involvement in the LGBT community?
Asher: You do whatever you want. Your rabbi doesn’t own you, and he or she certainly does not have the final word regarding your Judaism and how you express it. Try exposing your rabbi to some great literature on the subject
. If your efforts are failing and you feel that
Immersed and Coated
September 3, 2014
It’s easy to think of going to the mikveh
in terms of “washing away.” My very first experience with a ritual bath was my baptism in the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. It was couched in the language of washing away original sin. As I turned to Judaism and began learning the rules and scenarios that require use of a mikveh
, the emphasis always seemed to be on getting clean of some kind of impurity. It makes a certain sense: water is great for washing away the grime, sweat and dirt that build up on our… Read More »
Back to School: What Does Your LGBTQ Jewish Lesson Plan Look Like?
September 2, 2014
By Jordyn Rozensky
With Labor Day in our rear-view window, summer is officially over. Now that school is back in session, here are a few LGBTQ inclusive lesson plans for
your Jewish classroom.
Check out our suggestions for inclusive lesson planning with our easy-to-use collection of educational resources
. You can find LGBTQ-inclusive lesson plans, resource guides and best practices for creating LGBTQ-inclusive camps, youth groups, and classrooms, as well as samples of educational programs created by other educators, youth professionals, and Jewish youth leaders.
If this is the first time you’re introducing LGBTQ inclusive material to your classroom, start by taking a look
… Read More »