One of my Leviticus / LGBT jawns

First, for those unfamiliar with Philly slang, this.

Okay. This is me archiving this piece that Keshet and My Jewish Learning ran a few years ago, being re-shared now in case it’s useful to someone.

“Among LGBT Jews & their allies, Leviticus is a dirty word”

Among LGBT Jews and their allies, Leviticus is a dirty word. And not just because of its two famous homophobic verses. There are many challenging issues with Leviticus. For instance, while we support gender equality, Leviticus establishes an all-male system of ritual leadership. While we affirm the equal worth of people with physical disabilities, Leviticus excludes them from the priesthood. And of course, while we celebrate the blessing and beauty in loving same-sex relationships, Leviticus prescribes the death penalty for gay men who have intercourse.

So how do we work with a sacred text that is at odds with some of our deepest values–values that other parts of Torah affirm (like every person being created in God’s image)? For me, it starts with an approach to sacred texts that views them as human-created documents. Consistent with my Reconstructionist philosophy, I view the Torah as a record of our Israelite ancestors’ best efforts to describe their experiences of God and Truth.

Continue reading “One of my Leviticus / LGBT jawns”

Learning about transgender inclusion on Reform movement webinar

I’m appreciating the chance to gain a better understanding of evolving societal understandings of gender and gender diversity. Great, clear presentation so far being led by Daniel Bahner of Keshet.

Keshet logo

The program is coordinated by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, known in Jewish community circles as “the RAC.” The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Youth and Gender Media Project also helped put it together.

I’m especially interested, given my new job as Associate Director of Affiliate Support with Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, in learning from the wisdom and experiences of these sponsoring organizations. They’ve done years of great work.

Because I’ve blogged about Rocky and Creed (and fully acknowledge how much I enjoy both films), there was a fun connection that came up in my mind when this webinar began. The first activity asked participants to generate stereotypical words and phrases that we associate with the gender binary notions of “boys” and “girls” / “women” and “men”. Not surprisingly, one of the words that came up a lot in reference to “women”/”girls” was pink. Daniel did a good job of reminding everyone that a lot of the aesthetics people in our culture tend to associate with men and/or women are so profoundly temporary and culture-bound. He did it by saying, “Remember, the founding fathers of this country wore wigs and high heels.” Anyway, this led me to remember that in the first Rocky movie, in 1976, when the big fight at the end finally happens, Rocky and his manager and trainers come out of his locker room and walk to the ring wearing pink. Pink robes, and for the manager and trainers, pink sweaters.

rocky pink

Anyway, I’m just appreciating this opportunity to learn and thinking about how I can work to be of service to the communities I will be serving in my new job.