SOJOURN’s Welcoming Communities Project helps regional synagogues, schools, and agencies become welcoming places for GSD (Gender and Sexually Diverse) Jews in both theory and practice.
Being welcoming is more than simply saying, “we’re welcoming.” Our 10-month programwill guide your congregation through the process to ensure that every Jew not only feels welcome in your community, but your community feels comfortable in welcoming them.
SOJOURN staff will work with your volunteer leaders, board members, staff, educators, and clergy in very specific areas, including:
- Creating welcoming language for your website, marketing materials and by-laws
- Reviewing administrative documents (membership) for inclusive language
- Expanding and updating the agency’s non-discrimination policy
- Conducting at least two community-wide seminars or educational workshops
- Integrating inclusive language into worship content and educational curricula
- Supporting equality efforts for GSD people outside of the agency
- Affirming the synagogue’s clergy will perform life-cycle rituals for LGBT Jews
SOJOURN recognizes that each community is different and looks forward to tailoring the program to fit the needs and style of your congregation.
We understand that your community may have already taken some of these steps, met these criteria, or see yourselves as welcoming. We applaud the work that you have done and actively want to learn more about it. We have set these standards as a way to mark a certain level of commitment and work that we have identified as welcoming from all of our research and experience working with agencies. Achieving these benchmarks forms the basis for an official welcoming certification process. We also recognize that not every congregation is ready to embark on the journey toward certification as a Welcoming Community. Our focus is on starting the conversation, not ending it.