The LGBTQ Synagogue / Community / Social Justice / Social Justice Blog

Regular updates on different social justice events and topics both in CBST and beyond, including Koleinu, our Congregation Based Community Organizing initiative, as well as our exciting work in building a Jewish LGBTQ movement.

Fight the Smearing of Muslim Americans!

Sign this Petition to Fight the Smearing of Muslim Americans!

Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) plans to hold Congressional hearings on "the radicalization of Muslim Americans,” which will put a spotlight of suspicion on an entire American faith community – much like the McCarthy hearings on Communism in the 1950s cast doubt on the loyalty of American Jews.  The U.S. should be welcoming and integrating Muslim Americans, not alienating them over the actions of extremists.  Click here to learn more and sign the petition to stop these damaging and ill-advised hearings.


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Creating Change

I recently returned from a whirlwind of LGBTQ activists, clergy, youth, elders, leaders, novices, scholars, allies, students—basically, thousands of individuals who came together in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the largest conference on the LGBTQ movement in the world.

Thursday started with a plenary session for Practice Spirit, Do Justice, which was the first time there had been a religion/faith based track of workshops at Creating Change. We heard from faith and secular leaders, local Native American community leaders, sang together, and committed ourselves to building the faith movement for LGBTQ justice.

I attended workshops like, “Intersectional Movement Building for Faith Leaders: Living the ...

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Egypt -- Going Out and Coming Out

In our Torah reading cycle, we've just experienced the big Going Out -- the Exodus from the narrow places of Mitzrayim/Egypt, the revelation at Sinai -- but we're stuck in the desert for now.

And in the place where I study Torah, the Jewish Theological Seminary, we're building buzz for a CBST-sponsored event next week about Coming Out as LGBTQ.

It's a source of joy that a seminary where students have experienced intense pain in being closeted and coming out, is now hosting such an event -- casually, even.  Rabbi Mychal Springer and her gay brother Jonathan Springer will ...

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Koleinu and the Trans Empowerment Coalition Team Up

Last Friday, after services, the Koleinu Healthcare/Eldercare Action Team and the Trans Empowerment Coalition hosted a shmooze with the Lesbian Cancer Initiative of the LGBT Community Center. 

The shmooze focused on cancer screening, cancer risk, and discrimination in LBT communities. This is part of an ongoing conversation, both within our community and with medical and service providers, to get equitable care for LGBT people. It is so vital that we as a community discuss our fears and frustrations as LGBT people and make our voices heard. This is how we will make a change.

The Koleinu Healthcare/Eldercare Action Team is organizing to ...

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Update 2/10/2011: "The interior ministry announced that it is granting Thomas an unlimited temporary visa while they reevaluate granting him a permanent residence permit." -Yonatan Gher
 Read more:,7340,L-4026813,00.html  and

Update 2/9/2011 3:30pm: We just got off a phone call with Yonatan Gher, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Open House, and professional and lay leaders of other organizations. Actions are being evaluated and planned. If you'd like to get involved please sign up here .

We also learned the following:

There will be a deomnstration in Tel ...

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Kavanah for Building a Movement

This morning in Minneapolis, we kicked off Practice Spirit, Do Justice--the Multifaith track at Creating Change, building the LGBTQ religious movement.

I offered the following the kavanah at the plenary session this morning and thought I would share with all of you back in New York.

Even ma'asu ha-bonim hai-ta l'rosh pinah

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

This line from Psalms has become the central text at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah—the world's largest synagogue for people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, emphasizing the power of moving margin to center when the builders reject the ...

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Loss in Uganda

As many of you know, we celebrated a tremendous victory  for LGBTI people in Uganda this year, largely because of the work of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) whose Executive Director, Frank Mugisha, attended our LGBTQ Mutlifaith Celebration two weeks ago at Rehoboth Temple in Harlem.

Tragically, David Kato, SMUG's Advocacy Officer, and a fierce activist for justice in Uganda, was targeted and murdered last week. Our prayers are with the LGBTI community in Uganda. Zekher tzadik livracha /May the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.

Read David Kato's obituary here .     ...

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