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LGBTQIA Rights

Cafeteria Judaism and Feminine Queer Identity

Religion isn’t always easy. I often like to pretend it is—buzzwords like “interfaith” and “pluralism” pervade my discussions about faith. But every now and again, I’m reminded that the history of my faith is not easy. Judaism was, in fact, built on questions. How do I find support as a woman from a faith founded on patriarchal texts? How do I reconcile ancient laws with a modern identity of queerness?

Enid Shapiro, 1925 - 2017

Two months before my mother died, her doctor stopped the chemotherapy and she rallied. In true Enid Shapiro style, my mom took the opportunity to attend an evening board meeting of The Right Question Institute (RQI), asking her caregiver/driver to stop on the way so she could pick up cheese and crackers to bring to the meeting. She cherished her place on the board, having joined it in her mid-80s and seeing the organization as an opportunity to promote one of her most valued ideals—democracy.

Edie Windsor

Edie Windsor struck a historic blow for gay rights in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled in her favor in United States v. Windsor, granting same sex couples recognition by the federal government.

Elizabeth 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 shattered assumptions about what it means to be part of—and to lead—the Jewish community.

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.

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

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.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "LGBTQIA Rights." (Viewed on January 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/lgbtqia-rights>.

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