Photo Credit: Mason Levinson

LGBTQ Inclusion

In 2013, USCJ partnered with Keshet, a national organization that works toward full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life, to publish a study about the state of LGBTQ inclusion in Conservative synagogues. The results suggested an acceptance among most Conservative synagogues toward the LGBTQ community, but indicated that more can be done to foster inclusion. Findings showed:

  • 80% of Conservative synagogues had membership policies allowing same-sex couples to have a family/household membership

  • 60% reported they have members who openly identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer

  • 14% of synagogues had trained staff on LGBTQ inclusion

  • 30% had unisex/non-gendered bathrooms

In 2015, we launched the USCJ/Keshet Leadership Project, a training cohort for those interested in making systemic changes to LGBTQ inclusion in their community. The 10 congregations who participated engaged in staff training, transformed marketing, and communications materials, and rethought how they engage LGBTQ Jews in ritual space. 

The partnership between the Adas Israel Community Mikvah, Keshet and USCJ has helped ensure that the local LGBTQ community is welcome to participate in the performance of a mitzvah that historically shunned them, and that our mikvah furthers its goal of being radically inclusive.  As we celebrate societal progress during Pride Month this June, we remember and how much work there is left to be done, and are grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in the long march towards full inclusion.

Naomi Malka
Director of the Adas Israel Community Mikvah