Transgender Community Finds an Unlikely Ally in Jewish Movement

By Hinckley, Story | The Christian Science Monitor, November 5, 2015 | Go to article overview

Transgender Community Finds an Unlikely Ally in Jewish Movement


Hinckley, Story, The Christian Science Monitor


Members of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest movement of Judaism in the United States, passed the most extensive resolution for transgender inclusion of any major religious organization Thursday.

Reform Jews voted on a vow of transgender support during their biennial meeting in Orlando, with more than 5,000 attending.

When the policy was approved without any opposition, the majority of the room stood up and applauded.

"Your reaction in this room shows what this movement is about. It makes me very proud," said Stephen Sacks, chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism's board, according to the Associated Press.

The transgender resolution suggests gender-neutral bathrooms, gender-neutral language, and gender issue education.

"One of the key components is it calls for resources, development, and training so we get into the congregations and do training with their leaders, youth professionals, rabbis, lay leaders, and then supply them with materials on how do you deal with bathrooms? How do you deal with language? How do you deal with prayer?" Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, a senior vice president with the Union for Reform Judaism, told AP.

The resolution also proposes dividing children by month of birth rather than gender for youth programs and avoiding gendered titles such as "Mr." and "Mrs."

And to help explain the resolution to their 1.5 million affiliated members, the Reform movement plans to distribute one- page pamphlets to its various synagogues. …

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