“None of us are fully definable...each of us is a uniquely created being that gender brings to the surface.”
In our talk with Rabbi Elliot Kukla, he describes gender, Judaism and his view of humanity as "uniquely created beings" in our gender and other identities. See excerpts from the conversation with Rabbi Kukla below and find the full video and our series of videos with faith leaders on our YouTube channel.
How to Find a Welcoming Faith Community for Your Family
Acceptance of gender diversity within Jewish communities varies. The Union for Reform Judaism was the first religious group ever to put forward a sweeping and in-depth welcome to transgender people with the publication of their Resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People.Two years later the Conservative Rabbinical Assemblypassed a similar but less detailed document, the Resolution Affirming the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, in 2016. This was quickly followed by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association’s Resolution Affirming Full Inclusion of Transgender and Nonbinary Jews. Of Judaism’s main branches, the Orthodox community is the only one that has not put forward an official welcome. Though there has been no official statement from this branch, some individual Orthodox communities do welcome gender-diverse people.
If you’re looking for a welcoming Jewish community, there are several organizations that can connect you. Read more to find those that are right for you.
For a welcoming Orthodox synagogue or school, check out the Welcoming Shuls Project. For welcoming communities in Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist denominations, head over to Keshet’s Equality Guide, which also includes options to search for welcoming rabbis, camps, and JCCs.
Of course, for some families, physically walking into a new community right now might not be an option. Still, if you’d like to be involved from a distance there are several communities that broadcast their services online! Congregation Beit Simchat Torahin New York City is the largest LGBTQ+ synagogue in the U.S., and they stream their services every week via Facebook. Beth Chayim Chadashimin Los Angeles is the oldest LGBTQ+ synagogue in the country, founded in 1972, and they also stream their weekly services on their website.
See the Gender Spectrum article, Responding to the “Clobber Passages” in Jewish and Christian Scripture.
Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community by Noach Dzmura
Transgender and Jewish edited by Naomi Zeveloff
Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible edited by y Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Sheer