How Far We’ve Come

December 27, 2023

By Jon Grabelle Herrmann

Around this time over 20 years ago, Keshet put together the first ever LGBTQ+ Jewish speed-dating event on a cold Christmas Eve in Boston, one of just a handful of programs that year. 

Fast forward to 2023, when our team of 32 organized nearly 600 programs, workshops, and trainings across North America. I am excited to share that in 2024, Keshet will offer four of our signature LGBTQ+ and Ally Teen Shabbaton weekend retreats.

Shabbaton teen participants

It has been our honor this fall to highlight the voices of six Shabbaton participants and leaders. Their stories offer us hope at this moment of loss, pain, and uncertainty. 

As we enter 2024, I lift up their voices and express Keshet’s deep gratitude for their leadership and support of our 2023 year-end appeal.

Rivka: “I was thinking of leaving the Jewish community because I couldn’t find a space where I was fully accepted, supported, and validated. I came to Keshet and my mind was blown.”

Elliot: “Keshet’s Shabbaton was the first time I met queer Jews who weren’t me.”

Willow: “It’s so encouraging and relieving to know that we’re not the only ones fighting for ourselves, that we have people fighting right besides us.”

Brayden: “Because of Keshet’s Shabbaton, I learned that Judaism is about community. It’s about being with one another.” 

Amanda: “Since we’re all coming from different places, we actually build up a lot of tools that we use at home.”

Doran: “I don’t think there’s any other place I’ve been to that’s made me feel more validated, more welcomed, and just more good inside.”

All of us at Keshet are overwhelmed with gratitude for the hundreds of donors who responded with increased gifts to help Keshet access $100,000 in matching funds. Thank you so much! 

And it’s never too late to make a generous donation — join us to build a better world.

However and whichever holidays you celebrate this week, our entire team at Keshet wishes you a week of peace, love, and renewal!