By Rakhel Silverman-Gitin
As Keshet’s New York Education and Training Manager, I know that LGBTQ+ equality and belonging cannot be achieved overnight.
There is so much to consider in this process, such as gender-inclusive facilities, LGBTQ+ programming, representation in leadership, inclusive forms and materials, integrating LGBTQ+ rights into a community’s social justice agenda, and much more.
While this work can feel daunting and overwhelming at times, it is also a source of joy, a way to bring healing to our broken world. Perhaps you are in the beginning of this journey and are not sure where to start. Maybe you have done a training or program with Keshet but are not sure what comes next. Wherever you are on this journey, we urge you to apply to an upcoming Shivyon: Keshet’s Equality Project, a yearlong program of LGBTQ+ equality training and consultation for Jewish institutions in New York’s five boroughs, Westchester, and Long Island, and California’s Bay Area.
After completing the program, Adam Grundfast, Camp Director at the Sid Jacobson JCC in Long Island reflected:
“At the outset, we did not even know what questions to ask or where we might be falling short. Now, thanks to Keshet’s robust structure and coaching calls, we are able to stay in the work.”
Thanks to the generous partnership of the UJA Federation of New York, the fee for each synagogue for the New York Shivyon is only $180 for the year-long program. Don’t wait to apply; the program launches on December 14th with a Day of Learning in Manhattan. See below for details for the other Shivyon Projects around the country.
Gina Fass, Director of Education at Congregation Bet Torah in Mt. Kisco, participated in Keshet’s recent Shivyon for Westchester organizations. She shared how helpful the Day of Learning was for her:
“I wanted to help my synagogue be the most welcoming place it can be. During the Day of Learning, each activity was intentional in conveying the content and also modeled excellent pedagogy. I learned more about gender identity, and it helped me think about how to be more intentional with my own language. I asked myself: ‘Do the words I use invite others to share and feel included, or are they subjective and closed-off?’”
In these challenging times, my spirits are bolstered by the increased commitment to LGBTQ+ equality I see every day in my work at Keshet. I hope you will join us.
PS: Not connected to a synagogue in NY or the Bay Area, but know someone who is? Please forward this information about our upcoming Shivyon opportunities for learning and action!