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.

As the CBST community assembled for Tikkun Leyl Shavuot and prepared to receive Torah, we examined the epidemic of queer youth homelessness through a Jewish lens.  For me, the tikkun was inspiring as it created a space in which our religious practice and social justice work could come together, each informing the other.

Members of our Koleinu Marriage Equality & LGBT Rights Action Team led the first session.  Our text study, based on excerpts from the Book of Ruth, focused on the complex experience of journeying to or from a home -- what does it mean to have or not have ...

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LGBTQ homeless youth are under attack. CBST is fighting back. In November, Mayor Bloomberg cut $1.7M from city funding for LGBTQ homeless youth. CBST fought back by speaking at a public hearing, attending rallies, creating an online petition with hundreds of signatures, and holding a meeting with the mayor’s office to tell them that CBST would not stand for these cuts.

More recently, Gov. Cuomo, despite his support of marriage equality, cut funding to services for LGBTQ homeless youth by 50%, a violently disproportionate cut. As Carl Siciliano , Executive Director the Ali Forney Center writes:

 “In 2007, $6.8 million ...

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This Tuesday, I joined Koleinu members on the steps of City Hall in solidarity with the Ali Forney Center and LGBTQ homeless youth to protest Mayor Bloomberg’s announced budget cuts to runaway and homeless youth services by $1.6 million -- an action that flies in the face of everything we as Jews believe in .

New York City has an estimated 3800 homeless youth, with approximately 40% of them identifying as identify as transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or queer.  There are currently just 75 shelter beds for LGBTQ youth  in this city, and that number is about to drop.

Under these cuts, ...

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Over the past year, CBST has become increasingly involved in addressing the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness. Rabbi Kleinbaum served on the New York City Commission on LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth  and Koleinu’s LGBT Rights Action Team began meeting with organizations like FIERCE, the Ali Forney Center, and the Hetrick-Martin Institute to build relationship with these organizations and learn more about the underlying issues causing the epidemic. CBST also organized and hosted our annual Martin Luther King Multifaith Celebration around this issue and collaboratively developed mutlifaith liturgy to express our religious and spiritual concerns and hopes for the ...

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On Yom Kippur, over thirty people gathered during the break between Musaf  and Mincha  to discuss LGBTQ youth homelessness and the Ne’ilah  liturgy—the closing gates. “Be for them a shelter, and rescue them from terror, Seal them for honor and joy, at the hour of the locking.”

The discussion was lively and reflected the work that CBST has been doing around this issue—including the Mutlifaith Martin Luther King Jr. service we had this past year, Rabbi Kleinbaum serving on Mayor Bloomberg’s Commission on LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth, and most recently, the Koleinu action team’s decision to develop a campaign to ...

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