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LGBTQIA Rights

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Lisa Edwards

As a rabbi serving the oldest LGBT synagogue in Los Angeles, Lisa Edwards has worked for decades to make the Jewish community a more welcoming place for gays, lesbians, and transgender Jews.

Amy Bernstein

Amy Bernstein has used her position as rabbi of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country to create the kind of welcoming community that she longed for at an earlier age.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past; it is about the present. The events of the past year have made us more keenly aware than ever that we’re living through history in the making. And not just witnessing it—we are part of it, makers of history with each action we take.

Elli Tikvah Sarah

As both one of the first women and one of the first openly gay rabbis to be ordained in Britain, Elli Tikvah Sarah has profoundly reshaped the liberal Jewish community of Britain.

Lisa Edwards

As a lesbian rabbi serving an LGBT congregation during a period that has spanned the AIDS crisis and the legalization of gay marriage, Rabbi Lisa Edwards has spent decades working to make the Jewish community a more welcoming place for gays, lesbians, and transgender Jews.

Amy Bernstein

As leader of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country, Rabbi Amy Bernstein has worked to create the welcoming community for others that she had longed for at an earlier age.

Paula Vogel

Although she made her Broadway debut with Indecent in 2016, playwright Paula Vogel has long been hailed for her unflinching exploration of taboo topics, from the AIDS crisis to child abuse.
Parade of Suffragists, July 4, 1910

The Five Jewish Disruptive Patriots You Should Know

by Emily Cataneo

Let’s be honest: the Fourth of July is a fun holiday, what with the hamburgers, the watermelons, the fireworks, and the summer camps, but I’m guessing that many of us are not super enthused about celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave this year, given the current garbage fire of American politics and the dark truths that said garbage fire has revealed about the priorities and mores of our nation.

"Stone Butch Blues," by Leslie Feinberg

Queer History and Stone Butch Blues

by Jacob Klein

Two years ago to the month, I read Stone Butch Blues for the first time. Leslie Feinberg had made previous appearances in my life, distant traces of hir legacy filtering through references in other books and news of hir death months prior, but it wasn’t until May/June 2015 that I finally sank into Feinberg’s oeuvre and felt the force of hir most famous book.

Rising Voices Fellow Molly Pifko at her Bat Mitzvah

My (Eloquent, Intelligent, and Inspiring) Rabbi

by Molly Pifko

Rabbi Emily Mathis always seems to know the right thing to say. I remember being a little girl looking up at her on the Bimah during Friday night services, and wondering how she produced such beautiful and meaningful speech. I had the opportunity to speak with her recently, and I found myself wondering how she was able to answer so many of my questions before I had even asked them. 

Ben Shapiro

Facts Sometimes Have Feelings

by Abigail Fisher

“Torah Judaism does not support abortion, Torah Judaism does not support same-sex marriage,” right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro explained with a confident smirk to a cheering audience of Yeshiva University students. I expect it’s a lot easier to blindly subscribe to one binary view on what is seen as one of the most enigmatic documents in existence, rather than to actively engage with this foundational text, and question its claims. 

"The only hope is shoulder to shoulder" Women's March sign

All The Mornings After

by Lisa Batya Feld

The march had originally anticipated 25,000 participants, and by Friday, more than 105,000 had registered. Most people there, like me, had not, so the crowd was mind-bogglingly huge.

Hari Nef

Hari Nef, the first trans woman model to be signed to the prestigious IMG modeling agency, has used her public platform to speak out on issues that affect other transgender people.
Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past, but also about the present—it’s unfolding every day.

Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner’s revolutionary fantasy novel Swordspoint offered an important early example of a strong, successful gay hero in a committed relationship.

Susan Harris

As hospital chaplain, Rabbi Susan Harris has worked to make Boston Children’s Hospital more sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ patients and families.

Jazz Jennings

Through her YouTube channel and reality TV show, Jazz Jennings is working to increase public understanding and acceptance of transgender teens like herself.

Heather Booth / Alicia Garza

Organizers

Organizing for Equality

Candle

The Way We Were: Life Before the Orlando Shooting

by  Lesléa Newman

I mourn the victims, along with their families and friends. I grieve for the traumatized survivors whose lives will never be the same. I especially ache for the young members of the queer community who despite the advances we have made, still feel unsafe being out at work, at home, at school, and who will never know what it’s like to step out of the closet for a few hours and dance the night away, unencumbered by fear.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights
2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellow Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Why I Write

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Two driving forces in my life are creativity and passion. These qualities have always gone hand in hand. As I have grown through the years, my love for writing and my passion for activism have blended into one tremendous, creative, passionate, one-act play.

Alicia Garza

After her impassioned plea that black lives matter ignited the internet, Alicia Garza helped lead the movement that has transformed the modern struggle for civil rights.
Visualization of Gender Equality

Empowerment 101

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Throughout my life the word “feminist” has come to take on many meanings. It’s a word I’ve both heard and used infinite times growing up in the heart of one of New York City’s most politically liberal neighborhoods. Now, the very word “feminism” is one that brings gratification. However, by the time I reached the ever-menacing years of high school, I knew that the sense of affinity that came with the word “feminist” was not shared by the general whole of the New York high school students. 

Denise Eger

As one of the first openly gay rabbis, Denise Eger has spent her career working for greater LGBT inclusion in Jewish communities.

Joy Ladin and Lesléa Newman

Identity Poetics: An Afternoon with Joy Ladin and Lesléa Newman

by Bella Book and Tara Metal

On a sunny but cold Sunday in Boston, poets Joy Ladin and Lesléa Newman spoke at a JWA-sponsored event about their newly released collections of poetry, Ladin’s Impersonation and Newman’s I Carry My Mother

LGBT Rights Protest at Independence Hall, 1965

The Sound of Silence

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

A large part of my upbringing was my exposure to progressive education. My middle school was one that nourished not only a love for learning, but a well-rounded approach to diversity in any form it may take, including sexual orientation. However, I learned that even this inclusivity was an extraordinary privilege and not everyone, my own parents included, was raised in such a tolerant community. 

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