Questions for Rabbis Who Want to Be LGBTQ-Incusive

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg writes books about the messy business of trying to be a person in the world, and how spirituality can inform and transform that work. Sometimes that’s about parenting, sometimes feminism, sex, God, justice, or joy. On her Facebook page on and on her Twitter time line, Rabbi Ruttenberg asks some very important questions. We're not going to answer these questions for you here - we want you to take some time to consider these and how you might answer them for yourself. We encourage you to share these answers with your congregants and colleagues, too.

"I've seen a lot of straight colleagues posting about their support for the LGBTQ community this week, and that's important. Your queer and trans congregants especially probably need this from you right now. But--I want to challenge folks to not stop there. Do you have language in your pocket for when a nonbinary person has an aliyah? Do your divrei Torah regularly feature anecdotes of people of all genders and sexualities? (And not just on Pride Shabbat?) Are there ways for queer folks to get involved in your community that don't feel, like, -'great, the young professionals' group is a total het dating scene and not someplace I'm really comfortable'? What can you do to transform your communities--and our culture--to be better?"

Are you able to answer these questions, Rabbis? Are you aware of what your LGBTQ congregants need from you right now? Are you comfortable in what to say to your non-LGBT congregants in order to make your synagogue a more welcoming place for all?

As Rabbi Ruttenberg says, 

"Your LGBT Safe Zone stickers are a great start. But they are just a start. Don't congratulate yourself for doing only that. Ask what else."




Robbie Medwed

Robbie Medwed began working with SOJOURN when it was known as The Rainbow Center as a volunteer in 2008. He served as chair of the TRC Advisory Board and as co-chair of Purim off Ponce (2010, 2011) before moving into his current role as Assistant Director, where he oversees SOJOURN's educational programming and outreach, including our award-winning workshops and training seminars. Robbie holds a master's degree in Jewish education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has written curricula and nationally-recognized inclusive programs for the Marcus JCC of Atlanta, BBYO, USY, Camp Ramah, the Jewish Teen Funders Network, Babaganewz, and JewishGPS. Robbie is also a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and cyclist. Robbie can be reached at [email protected]