The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation has been on record in support of full equality of rights and opportunities for gay men and lesbians since 1984, when our sister seminary, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, began admitting openly gay and lesbian applicants.
We have over 100 affiliates nation-wide representing 17,000 households, including gay, lesbian, bi-sexual amd trans-gendered members. At its 1990 convention, the RRA recommended that the Reconstructionist movement establish a non-discrimination policy in rabbinic placement.
The following year, a movement-wide policy was enacted prohibiting discrimination in the referral of resumes of candidates for positions within congregations and in 1991, the RRA adopted a formal policy of non-discrimination in membership, thus acknowledging the previously unwritten policy.
The Reconstructionist movement has been at the forefront of efforts to include and integrate gay and lesbian Jews into all aspects of Jewish communal and religious life.
The following paragraph appears in Homosexuality and Judaism: The Reconstructionist Position, a groundbreaking report issued by the Reconstructionist movement in 1993:
To "seek justice," the report urged "all Reconstructionist affiliates, rabbis, and members of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College community to engage in a process of education about the issues relating to Judaism and homosexuality."
In 2004, we unanimously adopted a resolution in support of full legal equality for same-sex couples and the JRF has signed on in support of all amicus briefs we have been invited to do so on in support of same-sex marriage in State legal actions since that time.
At the November 2008 JRF board meeting, in response to propositions around the United States limiting the rights of Gay, lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) persons to marry and adopt children, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) re-affirmed its resolutions supporting inclusivity in our communities of homosexual persons in 1993 and same-sex marriage in 2004 and the Jewish values that are the foundation of our unwavering commitment to work towards the ending of inequity and discrimination against GLBT persons.
Recon congregations shown and explicitly acknowledged as outperforming the other movements in welcoming-ness. From the Welcoming Synagogues Project: Preliminary Results from the 2009 Synagogue Survey on Diversity and LGBT Inclusion.
- Rabbi Shawn I. Zevit, Director of Congregational Services and Tikkun Olam
The following list is taken from a 2004 report entitled, With Open Arms: Gay Affirming Ministries in Bay Area Faith Communities by Bernard Schlager, Ph.D. It describes the main successful components in creating welcoming and inclusive communities for LGBT identified Jews and partners:
1. Meaningful integration of LGBT people into congregational membership and leadership
2. Sponsorship of dialogue between LGBT people and others on a variety of topics
3. Committees devoted to LGBT persons and their concerns
4. Educational opportunities for LGBT persons and their allies
5. *Ministry to LGBT persons inside and outside the religious community
6. Involvement in larger religious LGBT causes and/or movements
7. Development of theological statements of welcome and inclusion for LGBT persons
8. Production of sermons, pamphlets and other materials pertaining to LGBT persons and their concerns
9. Advocacy of debate and positive change within larger religious organizations (e.g. denominations, national or regional alliances) re: LGBT persons and LGBT-affirming ministries
* In a Jewish context I would offer: study of and wrestling with Jewish texts, engagement with traditional and contemporary spiritual practices, ritual life, Jewish values and decision-making, among other areas (Rabbi Shawn Zevit)
Congregations that are welcoming:
Display remarkable degree of openness to contemporary ideas and trends
Place high value on work/service focused outside the synagogue/church
Emphasize “an activist approach to social action” vs. more traditional approaches which leave social action up to individual congregants’ initiative
|Reconstructionist statement on Prop8.doc||44.5 KB|
|JRF Statement for CA Same Sex Marriage Brief.doc||21 KB|
|Vermont Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Apr 09.doc||27 KB|