jlgbt

November 20th is Transgender day of Remembrance (TDOR). I have changed my profile picture to memorialize and honor all of the beautiful transgender people who we have lost. May their memories be for a blessing

There are stars whose light reaches the earth only after they themselves have disintegrated and are no more. And there are people whose scintillating memory lights the world after they have passed from it. These lights – which shine in the darkest night – are those which illumine for us the path. (Hannah Senesh)

“…gender is not sane. It’s not sane to call a rainbow black and white.” – Kate Bornstein

Death is inevitable, and sometimes it comes unexpectedly and roughly. In our grief we stand at a silent juncture. We can blame, we can run, or we can sort out the opportunities for more violence from the opportunities for more closeness. In that sorting we choose to frame our loss as a sacrifice which cuts through bigotry, oppression and ignorance. Both the Jewish and queer communities have performed social alchemy by transforming unspeakable acts of hatred and violence into art, legislation, ritual, education and beauty. We have squeezed wisdom out of ignorance, and sanctity out of depravity.
— 

Jhos Singer, “Parashat Shemini: The Way of Strange Fire

This is the rabbi at the synagogue I go to, when I go to synagogue, and he’s trans. He’s an amazing teacher who has a lot of writing online. This felt particularly applicable to the Trans Day of Remembrance.

One of the most important teachings in the Jewish tradition is that every human being is created b’tzelem elohim, “in God’s image,” which is interpreted to mean that every person must be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, transgender people have too often been the victims of blatant discrimination and of violence, their humanity and Godliness denied. And as a congregational rabbi, I have had congregants, both adults and teens, who are transgender, and I fear for their safety and their ability to live a life free of harassment and abuse.
—  Rabbi Toba Spitzer via Keshet
What do Reform Jews belleve about Homosexuality?

The Reform Movement understand that every human being is born with a specific sexual and romantic identity– some straight, some bisexual, some gay etc. They do not believe that one’s sexual or romantic identity makes them sinful or that it is a challenge– but is just another beautiful aspect of them as a human being. Reform Jews believe that every human being is created in the Divine Image (Gen 1:26), and thus that everyone should treat each other with love and respect in the way in which only God should be treated.

Rabbi Akiva went as far to say that we should bless humankind because we are God-like. (Pirkei Avot 3:14). Although several texts point to same-sex acts as taboo, Progressive Jewry understand that these texts were written a long time ago for a very specific reason– and that reason is not to marginalize any specific group. Nor would any loving God support the marginalization of God’s children.

As Jews, we are commanded time and time again to lead of life of justice one filled with acts of G'milut Hasadim (acts of loving kindness) and Tikkun Olam (the fixing of the world) through helping those who are oppressed as “we were slaves in the land of Egypt and God redeemed us” (Deut 15:15) Every time we sleep in a Sukkah, recite the Mi Chamocha, or celebrate our redemption during Pesach, we are reminded of the importance of freedom and our job as Jews to help others who are oppressed.

Reform Jews support full marriage equality for same sex couples and full inclusion into the Jewish world and secular communities as well as fighting to help transgender people and help stop hate crimes against all marginalized people. Check out this page for more information from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism! http://rac.org/advocacy/issues/issuegl/

“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” – Harvey Milk (via thepeopleproject.com)

36 years ago today, the first openly gay politician in California was assassinated. This native Long Island and Jewish man worked incredibly hard to make the streets of his San Fransisco neighborhood.

May Harvey’s memory be for a blessing and may every closet door is destroyed! <3

A Prayer for World AIDS Day (Dec 1)

Al Ha-nissim: For the wonders of the enduring strength of the human spirit;
V’al Ha-g’vurot: And for the heroic acts of those who stood strong in days of prejudice;
V’al Ha-t’shu’ot: And for the victories in the advancements of antiretroviral medication;
V’al Ha-nifla’ot: And for the marvelous deeds of the healthcare professionals;
V’al Ha-nekhamot: And for the compassionate support of friends and relatives;
She’asita La’avoteinu: That You enabled for those who went before us;
Ba’yamim Ha-heim: in those early days of HIV and AIDS;
Uva-z’man Ha-zeh: and in these times.

May the time come soon when this terrible disease will become but a nightmare from history. Yet until that time we pray for those who are ill and in pain. We pause now to name them in our hearts:

Barukh Atah Adonay, Rofeh Hakholim – Amen.

We also remember those who lost their lives to HIV and AIDS; those we loved, those we knew and those millions around the world too numerous to even begin to comprehend:
 
Zikhronam Livrakhah – May their memories be an enduring blessing - Amen.

Based on content found from ritualwell.org

anonymous asked:

Hello, I love how informative your blog is, first off, and I was wondering if I could ask some questions. I was born and raised in a completely non-religious household, but I've gone to an Anglican Christian school. I am a lesbian and the Christian view on homosexuality is one of the main reasons I would never, ever convert to Christianity. My best friend is Jewish (Orthodox) and his family, including his grandfather (and Rabbi) are completely okay with homosexuality (part 1)

But I think that’s mainly due to the fact that there are a lot of gay people in his family, and his parents have a lot of gay friends. I don’t really know Jewish people aside from him and his family, because there isn’t a *huge* community in our area. I’ve always wanted to convert to a religion, and the more he tells me and the more I learn about Judaism, the more I feel it’s right for me. My only concern is that, like with Christians (part 2)

I’ve known, people will try to convince me to suppress my “desires”, marry a man and have children despite my own happiness/sexuality. I just want some more viewpoints, because when I look online, it seems very negative, but my friend keep trying to convince me “real” Jews aren’t like that, and are much more accepting. I just don’t know if he’s being bias though because of his own family. THanks so much, and thank you for your informative and interesting blog. (final part)

___________________________________________________________________

Answer:

Hi anon!

Thank you so much for your compliments.

It is true that the Jewish community is very welcoming toward members of the LGBTQ community (in many cases). Unfortunately, some Jews will tell you to suppress your “desires” and to marry a man. But this is not the case for all Jews— and absolutely not a case for those in the Reform community.

Reform Jews believe that all of God’s children are created in the Divine Image, meaning that all people should be treated with equality: performing acts of loving kindness (g’mulut hasadim) and acts to fix the world (tikkun olam) is imperative so that we can rebuild this world with love. Here is a great article on celebrating Pride from the Reform Movement and an article on LGBTQ life in Israel.

Although there are traditional rulings against homosexuality (ie. a man shall not lie with a man for it is an abomination) many Reform/Progressive Jews do not believe that the entirety of the text is of Divine Origin— but this does not take away from the importance of the words. Many Reform Jews make a choice to interpret the lines of text in a non-literal fashion. While some aspects are taken on faith, there are certain laws and rulings that seem very silly in the modern age: one being a ban on people being themselves.

My advice is this— if you would like to experiment with Judaism, do it in an environment where you will be excepted. There are several movements within Judaism where marriage equality, child rearing and general equality in Synagogue Communities exist.

If you or anyone else needs any more advice regarding this topic or something else, please don’t hesitate to contact the blog!

l’shalom, with peace,

-ProgressiveJudaism

Remember that time that a evangelical Christian told me to convert from Judaism because the Jewish leadership and community (there is no hierarchy or leaders in Judaism) is homophobic and racist? Boy did they learn something new about Evangelicalism.