Our Stories

Growing Up Queer and Jewish

Educational settings are some of the first places where young children encounter a community of people that are different from those in their own home. A child’s healthy and positive psychological well-being, in and out of the home, is linked to positive self-esteem and successful academic outcomes (Harris-Britt et al., 2007; Toomey & Umaña-Taylor, 2012). This year in our series with Dr. Sandra Chapman from Chap Equity we were reminded that educational settings and individual teachers have a critical role in affirming and sustaining cultural and social identity differences. At Jewish LearningWorks, we believe strongly that regardless of our differences, all humans are created in the divine image, b’tzelem elohim, and are working to realize our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB).

In the Jewish community, Keshet has led the movement for LGBTQ equality. Today, we share this video, highlighting the impact of healthy identity development for queer youth, and why growing up in supportive Jewish educational settings is essential for the well-being and development of all children, not only our gender expansive youth.

Pride month reminds us to affirm with joy the shared responsibility of learners and educators, as they bring their whole authentic selves to the experience of vibrant Jewish learning, and to the pursuit of a more just and perfect world.

Whether you are beginning or deepening your commitment to the full inclusion of gender expansive youth in your life, and your practice as an educator, in your synagogue, school community, camp or JCC, we hope you explore these resources:

LGBTQ History and Why It Matters. Lesson plan for grades 6-12.

While students may have heard about key events in LGBTQ history (such as the Stonewall Riots or the activism, political career, and assassination of Harvey Milk in San Francisco), many significant people and events in the history of the LGBTQ rights movement are still underrepresented in textbooks and K-12 curricula. In this lesson, students will learn about LGBTQ history spanning from the Roman Empire to the year 2016 by participating in a human timeline activity. The activity uses resources created by GLSEN, a national organization dedicated to ensuring that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students have access to a safe and affirming school environment where they can learn and grow.

101 Community Inclusion Guides for Day Schools, Synagogues, Camps and More.

Explore ways to make your community more inclusive and safe for LGBTQ learners and their parents.

Beyond the Binary, a Podcast About Making Hebrew More Gender Inclusive.

Activists Michal Shomer, Dafna Eisenreich, and Tal Jenner-Klausner speak about how and why they are taking Hebrew beyond the gender binary, and promoting a Hebrew language that includes people of all genders.

Transboom, a Short Film About a Transition Story and Culture Shift.

Emmy Award nominee Tiffany Shlain is joined by her producer and co-writer, Sawyer Steele, to share his transition story, as well as insights into how a shift toward a cultural acceptance of trans identities is happening.