Why Give to Keshet

Why Give to Keshet

You can help build a better world.

Your 2024 gift makes it possible through Keshet to expand Shabbaton retreats for queer Jewish youth across the country, ensure that all Jewish organizations can build communities of LGBTQ+ belonging, offer new opportunities for LGBTQ+ Jews of Color to build community, and expand Jewish advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights during the critical 2024 election year.

During Pride Month this June, every extra dollar you donate to Keshet will be fully matched — up to $100,000!
Click here to learn more.

David Passer z”l and Marc Maxwell

Why We Give

“Keshet called to me and David because we were those ungainly teens, loved but knowing we were different. When we each came out, being gay seemed more important than being Jewish. But as young adults and as a couple, we realized that to be our whole selves, we needed to be part of the Jewish community and the gay community. Acceptance was never the goal, true belonging was. David and I were taken by how Keshet worked with Jewish institutions — synagogues, day schools, camps — so they could become a true home for LGBTQ+ Jewish young people and adults.”

MARC MAXWELL
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Keshet works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and our families in Jewish life. We strengthen Jewish communities. We equip Jewish organizations with the skills and knowledge to build LGBTQ-affirming communities; create spaces in which all queer Jewish youth feel seen and valued; and advance LGBTQ rights nationwide.

Last year, Keshet

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800

Partnered with over 800 Jewish organizations that collectively serve 4.4 million people across North America

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13,500

Engaged over 13,500 people to empower queer Jewish youth, train Jewish leaders to build communities of belonging, and organize Jews to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights

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240

Mobilized more than 240 Jewish community organizations to fight back against legislative attacks on the rights of LGBTQ+ kids through Thrive: the Jewish Coalition to Defend Trans and LGBTQ+ Youth, a partnership of Keshet and SOJOURN

“I realized for the first time in my life that I could be both queer and Jewish, and I didn’t have to choose between the two.”
—Rivka (they/them), Keshet Youth Leader

Keshet’s Programs

Transforming Jewish Institutions

Education & Training

Our Education & Training team bolsters Jewish institutions — synagogues, day schools, JCCs, federations, summer camps, and more — to live their values as communities of belonging. Through individualized consultations, trainings, and our cohort-based Shivyon: Keshet’s Equality Project, our Education & Training team sparks change across Jewish life, from the views of our leaders and community members to the policies and programs of our institutions.

By the Numbers

8,121

staff and leaders trained in 267 Jewish organizations: day schools, camps, synagogues, JCCs, service organizations, and other institutions

7

Shivyon Equality Project cohorts launched with 69 organizations

88%

of organizations participating in Keshet Education & Training programs reported implementing at least one change to policy, programs, or culture

“In our post-summer reflection, we openly wondered whether certain challenges had not come up in previous summers or if we were more aware of them now. It was clear that the lens in which we viewed issues about inclusivity, LGBTQ+ equality, and ensuring that our camp remains a safe space — and the tools we now have at our disposal — has changed for the better. Our community is safer, stronger, and better because of our participation in the Shivyon cohort with Keshet.”

DAVE FLAGLER (he/him)
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Why We Give

“At eleven years old, our child, who had attended URJ Camp Eisner since she was seven, formally transitioned to her affirmed name and gender. This was more than a decade ago, and it was the first time an overnight Jewish summer camp had faced such a request. Keshet worked with camp leadership to prepare a welcoming environment. Later that year, The Forward published ‘How one transgender camper helped shape the entire Reform movement.’ That camper was Hannah. Keshet made it possible.”

TAMAR GENDLER
Hamden, Connecticut

Empowering LGBTQ+ Jewish Youth

Youth Programs

Keshet fosters environments where LGBTQ+ Jewish youth and allies can thrive. From our in-person Shabbatonim (weekend retreats), to our weekly online programs, to nurturing youth leadership in planning and leading our programs, we carve out space where youth can strengthen their sense of confidence, connection, and pride. Many queer Jewish youth who participate in Keshet programs are growing into the leaders and changemakers our Jewish community—and country—need.

By the Numbers

1,300

youth engaged in programs

80%

of Keshet Youth Programs were youth-led

93%

of youth report increased ease, confidence, and pride in LGBTQ+ Jewish identity

92%

of youth report that thanks to their leadership in Keshet, they are able to serve as change agents for LGBTQ+ equality in their home communities

“Without Keshet, my connection to Judaism would be weaker. Keshet really allowed me to connect in the Jewish world. Now, I’m actually known as the kid that dances in the back of the synagogue during Shabbat services.”

COOPER
New York, New York

KESHET IMPACT: After the October 7 attacks... (read more)

Cooper (they/them), a Shabbaton steering committee member from New York City and weekly Keshet Monday Youth Hangouts regular, could tell that the other LGBTQ+ youth in the Hangouts needed additional space to process. So they reached out to Jaimie Krass, Director of Youth Programs, and together they created another virtual space for queer Jewish teens to find support and connection.

In the safety of the Zoom meeting, participants shared what they were feeling, the offensive comments they were getting for being Jewish, their parents not allowing them to walk on campus alone. They helped each other make sense of what was going on. For Cooper, the most impactful moments were when no one was talking, during silent reflection, just having time to think and journal.

Cooper says Keshet has allowed them to flourish as an out and proud queer Jew—like when they marched with Keshet in the NYC Pride Parade with their whole family and when they decided to wear a kippah, even in school where there are very few Jews.

Why We Give

“Raising Is, a nonbinary trans Thai Jewish kid in Florida, has been joyful and challenging. Keshet has been a place of comfort, inspiration and safety for Is–from Shabbaton participation to team leader work. The professional, emotional and intellectual support of Keshet guides countless LGBTQ+ teens and families towards acceptance and fulfillment. We are so thankful for Keshet.”

VARISA PERLMAN
New York, New York

Mobilizing for LGBTQ+ Rights

Jewish Community Mobilization

As more and more states introduce dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Keshet is mobilizing Jewish communities nationwide to fight back. We partner with Jewish organizations to prioritize LGBTQ+ equality within their social justice agendas, as well as with secular LGBTQ+ movement partners to bring the Jewish voice to civil rights campaigns. In 2023, Thrive: the Jewish Coalition to Defend Trans and LGBTQ+ Youth, a partnership of Keshet and SOJOURN, mobilized over 240 Jewish community organizations to fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Together, we are sending a clear message: Our values as Jews compel us to protect and advance the dignity and rights of LGBTQ+ people.

By the Numbers

243

Jewish community organizations who collectively fought back against attacks on the rights of trans kids with Thrive: the Jewish Coalition to Defend Trans and LGBTQ+ Youth, representing a 35% growth

634

Jewish community organizations with mobilized members who advocated for LGBTQ+ rights

76

educational programs provided

5,831

inspired people who contacted their legislators to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights

“We’re not going to leave out any part of our community or shy away from talking about the LGBT piece. Having Keshet on board really allowed our coalition to straddle two worlds — Jewish and LGBT — and to speak both languages simultaneously, which has been so important in fighting the Chaplain Bill.”

Emily Bourgeois
Organizer, RAC-TX
Austin, Texas

Why We Give

“As a family with two dads living in Florida, finding inclusive Jewish spaces is more important than ever. Keshet is working every day to make it easier for families like ours, and we are indebted to Keshet and its staff for their advocacy and programming in our state. We have seen firsthand the impact that Keshet has made for our family, and we are proud to support their continued good work.”

LOUIS AND LANE ROSNER
Boca Raton, Florida

Cultivating Belonging for Queer Jews of Color

LGBTQ+ Jews of Color Programs

In 2023, Keshet prioritized programming and community building for queer Jews of Color (QJOC) by investing in a full-time staff position. As a result, we are now cultivating a growing QJOC community across the country that celebrates and invites people to embrace their full selves within Jewish spaces. We are engaging LGBTQ+ Jews of Color in both online and in-person programs and through resource and content creation. Our staff has also organized educational sessions and materials to galvanize non-QJOC Jewish leaders and organizations to be stronger and more effective allies for LGBTQ+ Jews of Color.

“Sitting in a Zoom room together just talking about the Shabbaton, I asked Sage if we could recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. No one had done this before.”

SHABBATON PARTICIPANT

Why We Give

“Keshet has been an important and dedicated partner in promoting equity and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone in the Jewish community, especially Jews of color who identify as LGBTQ. The Weinberg Foundation is proud to support its mission and efforts to create a more inclusive future that celebrates the rich diversity of the Jewish people.”

THE HARRY AND JEANETTE WEINBERG FOUNDATION

Financial Highlights: 2023 in Numbers

Source of Revenue

Expenses by Department

Investments by Program