LGBTQIA Rights

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Jane Harman

Jane Harman to receive NJDC's inaugural Tzedek Award

by  Kate Bigam

The National Jewish Democratic Council is presenting its inaugural Tzedek Award tonight – and the first recipient is former Congresswoman Jane Harman.

Gloria Steinem, 1972

Gloria Steinem: An unheralded GLBT advocate

by  Alan Kravitz

As I watched HBO’s incisive documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words, one irony became clear instantly: Gloria Steinem is an icon who is utterly uncomfortable with the whole idea of being an icon.

"Donovan's Big Day" front Cover by Lesléa Newman

New York's Big Day

by  Leah Berkenwald

We were thrilled to see gay marriage pass in New York this weekend, just in time for the release of Lesléa Newman’s new book, Donovan's Big Day. Lesléa Newman is the author of the classic children's book Heather Has Two Mommies, which has helped a generation of childern see their families represented in the books they read. Her new book takes the work a step further by familiarizing the experience of watching one's parents get married.

Rabbi Kleinbaum at Gay Marriage Demontration

Reinventing Rituals: June, a month of Pride and same-sex marriages

by  Elyssa Cohen

June is full of irony: not only is June Pride month, but it is also the unofficial start to wedding season. So many are still fighting for equal marriage. As I write this, lawmakers in Albany are struggling to garner enough votes to make same-sex marriage legal in New York state (see resources to get involved at the end of this post).

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum stands up for gay marriage in the face of Jewish prejudice

by  Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday a scuffle broke out between a group of Rockland Hassidic men and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. The incident occurred during a protest outside the New York state senate where a gay marriage bill is currently under debate.

Registration for the 1954 TABS Conference with B'nai B'rith Girls at Freedom House

Joan Krizack wins Champion of Freedom Award for the Documenting Diversity Project

by  Ellen K. Rothman

In 1998, Northeastern University announced that it had received a two-year federal grant to “identify, locate, secure, and make accessible the most important and at-risk historical records of Boston’s African American, Chinese, gay and lesbian, and Latino communities.” Later that year, I met Joan Krizack, Northeastern’s University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, who had conceived the “Documenting Diversity Project.”  I could see immediately that this diminutive woman (who has been a member of the Jewish Women’s Archive Technical Advisory Committee since 2006) had a “tiger by the tail” and was not about to let it go.

Gerry Faier, 1908 - 2011

An agitator, rabble-rouser, and working-class Jewish lesbian, Gerry Faier found company and camaraderie among fellow labor organizers, the burgeoning gay and lesbian communities of Woodstock and Greenwich Village, and activists across many generations.

Synagogue Sanctuary

Is the shul a place for political activism?

by  Kate Bigam

I spent last Friday night celebrating Shabbat at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Mass., a Reform synagogue I’d never before visited. I was in awe of the chapel’s breathtaking, brightly colored stained glass windows, and I was fascinated by Rabbi John Franken’s take on Parshat M’tzora, which drew unexpected parallels between, of all things, skin diseases and marketing (all with a Jewish bent, of course). But it was a bright green insert in the Friday night program that struck me most.

"Heather Has Two Mommies," 1989

A toast to Heather!

by  Leah Berkenwald

This month, Heather turned 21.

Amanda Simpson became first transgender presidential appointee

December 31, 2009

President Barack Obama named Amanda Simpson to the position of Senior Technical Adviser in the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Lesléa Newman publishes groundbreaking children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies

December 16, 1989

Lesléa Newman’s Heather Has Two Mommies is the first children’s book about a family with two moms.

Elsie Frank, 1912 - 2005

Mother’s public debut was not exactly spontaneous — in 1982 my brother Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank faced a tough re-election campaign. We were all engaged, but probably the most effective family effort was a campaign commercial featuring Mother, in her rocking chair, explaining that she trusted Barney to protect Social Security.

Lani Silver, 1948 - 2009

She liked to tell me that she started out in life as conservative but that she did a full political turn when she traveled to South Africa at l9 and observed first hand the awful effect of apartheid. When she returned to San Francisco, she became active in the Jewish community and with liberal and social justice causes and campaigns.

Estelle Getty, 1923 - 2008

... Mostly I admire her for being a genuinely funny, talented woman, who never gave up on her greatest ambitions. In an industry where youth and beauty are often valued far above maturity and wit, Estelle turned the tables.

Maxine Feldman, 1945 - 2007

Never content to play only gay spaces, she would perform 'any place that would have her.' She loved being a bridge, helping others to gain confidence and find the resources they needed.

Joyce Warshow, 1937 - 2007

…She chose action over passivity. She chose to reform rather than to conform. Her diverse background and interests led her down many paths. As a renowned feminist, filmmaker, psychologist, educator, author, and activist who fully invested herself in every fiber of her work-literally, physically, metaphorically-Joyce touched the lives of many.

Q&A with Bonnie Rosenbaum on Keshet's Pledge to Save Lives

by  Leah Berkenwald

Today is "Wear Purple Day" or "Spirit Day." It is a global day of remembrance for Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas, the six GLBT youth who recently took their own lives because of homophobic bullying.

The Jewish Press Must Not Kowtow to Religious Homophobia

by  Leah Berkenwald

On October 4, the New Jersey Jewish Standard published an apology for printing a same-sex wedding announcement. In that apology, the paper’s editor, Rebecca Boroson, made it clear that the decision to stop running same-sex wedding announcements, and the apology, was in response to pressure from the so-called "traditional/Orthodox" Jewish community. Thanks to the internet, the outrage felt at this editorial decision was felt across the nation.

The Dark Side of Jewish Pluralism

by  Leora Jackson

One of the benefits of being in my parents’ home is access to a whole range of print media to which I would otherwise never subscribe. On the flip side, it also means I encounter a whole range of political opinions that I would otherwise avoid like the plague.

Unit 3, Lesson 5 - Civil Rights and Social Justice Today

Consider what contemporary civil rights and social justice issues matter to us today, and how Jews and African Americans determine their priorities and responsibilities to effect social change.

Outraged: Linda Lingle vetoes Civil Unions bill and compares gay marriage to incest

by  Leah Berkenwald

Earlier this week, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle vetoed the state's Civil Union bill designed to give all couples access to the economic and legal benefits of marriage. I suppose this is not too surprising, considering the fact that she is a Republican. Still, her explanation as to why she vetoed the bill makes me pretty upset.

Deconstructing the "Sassy Gay Friend"

by  Leah Berkenwald

David Levy, writing for JewishBoston.com, recently challenged us at JWA to comment on the gender/sexuality dynamic of the Second City's new video series, "Sassy Gay Friend." He wrote:

There's a long tradition in Judaism of imagining different versions of our favorite stories, from rabbinic midrash to contemporary novels.  Comedy troupe The Second City has thrown their hat into the ring this week with a new Youtube video in their "Sassy Gay Friend" series.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights

Catching up with "Rhymes With Orange's" Hilary Price on the 15th anniversary of her national syndication

by  Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Hilary Price about the upcoming 15th anniversary of the national syndication of her popular comic strip, Rhymes with Orange. With its debut, Hilary Price became the youngest woman ever to have a nationally-syndicated cartoon strip at age 25.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights, Art

Putting Joy Ladin "On the Map"

by  Leah Berkenwald

Recently, we asked you to add Jewish women to our GLBT Pride Month feature on jwa.org. A contributor pointed out that we didn't have any transwomen, and suggested we add Joy Ladin. What an excellent idea! Not only should she be mentioned on jwa.org, she should be put On the Map. I used this as an opportunity to create a tutorial video to explain how to add an entry to the map.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights
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