Idit Klein

b. 1972

As executive director of Keshet, a non-profit dedicated to creating a welcoming and supportive Jewish community for GLBTQ Jews, Idit Klein built the organization into a national leader in making the Jewish community more inclusive. After graduating from Yale University, Klein moved to Israel, where she became a community organizer in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community of Jerusalem. She continued that work upon her return to the States when she began volunteering for Keshet, and in 2001, she was hired as the organization's executive director. Under her leadership, the organization has become the voice of the Jewish community on matters related to the GLBTQ community. In 2001, Klein mobilized the Jewish community in Massachusetts to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Her work has been instrumental in developing a consciousness of GLBTQ issues in the Jewish community.

Scope and Content Note

Idit begins the interview by describing her childhood and how she moved from Israel to Italy to the United States during the early years of her life. Idit comments on how she felt very attached to Israel even as a young child; being raised a secular Israeli, it remained a large part of her identity and how she interacted with Judaism throughout her life. Since then, she began to think of herself as a Jewish leader in middle school and has always been committed to activism. She explains her first understanding of persecution when she learned about the Holocaust at age four. She has worked to help marginalized groups gain rights, specifically LGBTQ+ Jews, ever since. Idit discusses her experience coming out and how that impacted her work in GLBT organizations, such as Keshet. She talks about how she went from a volunteer to one of Keshet's main employees and how she has helped organize sponsored events to build community. Idit often worked with Shulamit Izen, another lesbian Jewish activist, to create programs and resources for Jewish GLBT youth. She remarks on how these programs have helped to better and even save lives and how it is worth any obstacles she has faced. Idit mentions that everything she does is connected to her Jewish identity and how that identity taught her the importance of community. 

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Idit Klein. Interviewed by Julie Johnson. 25 February 2005. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 23, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/klein-idit>.

Oral History of Idit Klein by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.