Judaism teaches us that everyone is created b’tzelem elohim – in the image of God. At Temple Beth Am, we welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to become involved in the religious, social, and educational life in our congregation. We also actively work for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) rights, not only in Seattle but on a state and national level.
Most recently, at the 2015 URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) Biennial, delegates from our Temple cast their votes with pride to help pass an historic resolution on the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people. In 2011 - 2012, TBA was one of the pilot congregations of the Welcoming Synagogues Project, a national effort to create something similar to the “Open and Affirming” designation used by many Christian denominations. Our work as a Welcoming Synagogue continues today with outreach, education, and programs for the entire community.
For our members' enthusiastic work on Washington state's landmark marriage equality resolution in 2012, TBA received the Irving J. Fain Social Action Award from the national Commission on Social Action of the URJ.
Our congregation has celebrated life-cycle events, such as weddings and baby-namings, with our LGBTQ members for decades, and, throughout the year, we work for LGBTQ rights in the greater Seattle community, help sponsor Jewish/LGBTQ events, and joyously participate in the annual city-wide Pride Shabbat (which we hosted in 2014) and Seattle's Pride Parade every June.
Below are a few of the many resources available for LGBTQ Jews and the people who love them.
- "Purim Reversals" - Rabbi Beth Singer, Purim 5773
- "Love, Marriage, and Equality" - Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Yom Kippur 5773
- "Finding Home For Everyone" - Rabbi Beth Singer, Rosh Hashana 5772
Our adult and young adult members also speak out from the pulpit about LGBTQ issues. Here are some recent examples:
- “Is Temple Beth Am a Welcoming Place? How Can You Tell?” - Sermon by TBA member Gail Broder, July 2012
- “What Does the Torah Really Say About Homosexual Acts?” - Bat Mitzvah d’var, May 2012
- “The Value of Inclusion” - Bat Mitzvah d’var, June 2011
The TBA library has a small and growing collection of Jewish / LGBTQ-themed books. Click here for the reading list.
- A beautiful It Gets Better video created by the faculty of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
Working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life Keshet has numerous resources on its site for youth, parents, teachers and Jewish professionals, and LGBTQ Jews of any age, including Torah Queeries (divrei Torah written from an LGBTQ perspective) and TransTexts (an exploration of what Jewish texts say about transgender and gender non-conforming experiences).
TransTorah helps people of all genders to fully access and transform Jewish tradition, and it helps Jewish communities to be welcoming sanctuaries for people of all genders. TransTorah has resources for transgender Jews and for anyone who wants to learn about how to be welcoming to transgender people.