I am working to create the next page in our “No One is More Welcomed at Or Ami than You!” webpage series (see our multicultural, interfaith and special needs webpages). In researching resources for LGBT Jews and their families, I finally took the time to serious peruse the websites of the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation (IJSO) and the Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center (JHVRC), both affiliated with Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. I am quite frankly amazed and proud that these two resources are available through our Reform Jewish movement.
The Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center for Sexual Orientation Issues in the Jewish Community is a web-based educational environment for all those interested in learning about Judaism, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. It contains the largest online gathering of articles, texts, and websites on Judaism and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics in the world. The JHVRC also features answers to Frequently Asked Questions, case studies exploring how issues of sexual orientation might be discussed in a Jewish context, and guides for studying biblical and rabbinic text.
The mission of the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation is driven by Jewish religious values and the spiritual quest for holiness. The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation seeks:
- To achieve complete inclusion, integration and welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in congregations and communities.
- To train and empower Jewish professionals, educate students, and support scholars and researchers in their quest to develop a theology and practice of inclusion.
- To encourage dialogue between constituent organizations within the Reform movement on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics.
- To foster collaboration with community based educational and social service organizations to further our mission.
- To grow the Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center (JHVRC) and develop new resources including a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liturgy and ritual.
- To organize workshops and academic conferences and develop curriculum modules to be implemented within the HUC-JIR academic program.
I look forward to utilizing these resources as we become even more inclusive.