"Gay Judaism" and the Struggle for Inclusion

By Joshua Lesser

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF), Fall 2003

On a religious level, the values-based approach of the Reconstructionist movement has given rise to an understanding that whereas the halakha has recognized homosexuality simply as a sexual act, we recognize it as a fundamental aspect of identity that deserves to be treated with the Jewish value of b'tzelem elohim (respect for human beings as made in God's image). Our next step, I believe, should be to create a timetable for all Reconstructionist communities to be inclusive and welcoming to gay and lesbian members and staff. One model for this would be the process that our movement created when we had a few synagogues that still prayed with a mehitza (a wall or curtain dividing men from women) or did not permit women to read from the Torah. We gave these communities generous time in which to progress towards egalitarianism, but we made it clear that gender egalitarianism was a definitive Reconstructionist value and standard of affiliation.

Topic: Halakha, Organizational Development, Jewish Law, Homosexuality, Rabbinate, Reconstructionist Judaism, LGBT Issues, GLBT Issues, Inclusion, Clergy

Name of Publication: Reconstructionism Today

Volume/Issue: Vol.11/no.1

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Lesser, Joshua. "Gay Judaism" and the Struggle for Inclusion. Reconstructionism Today. Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF). Fall 2003: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=7777


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