This section of the Institute's website has two discrete aspects, Synagogues and Organizations, which are further broken down in each of their own subsections. This collection of places of worship and organizations are ones that we think may be helpful you. If you have feedback that you would like to share on any of these resources, please let us know.
Synagogues: LGBT and Welcoming
For people who are looking for a particular synagogue to visit, we have created a national and international locator map to help you identify, learn about and contact these synagogues. The map contains two different types of congregations. The first type are synagogues that have a special outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jews and their families. The second are those congregations that are open and welcoming to LGBT Jews and their families.
Identifying the LGBT synagogues is relatively easy (see the sidebar). Identifying those congregations that are open and welcoming to LGBT people and their families is more complex. There is an increasing amount of research on what makes a welcoming congregation and the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation is in the process of developing tools to help foster this type of atmosphere. While there are Christian denominations that have had a Welcoming Movement for 20 years, we are just beginning to develop one for Jewish denominations.
As this is the case, to begin to identify welcoming congregations, we have been asking for your recommendations. Individual congregants, often LGBT members themselves, have recommended places of worship as well as organizations like JPride, a Jewish LGBT group in San Diego, and the Community of Welcoming Congregations (CWC), an Oregon and SW Washington interfaith association of religious and spiritual congregations. This list of welcoming congregations will be an evolving document and we welcome your suggestions.
When you send us a recommendation, make sure that you tell us why the congregation is open and welcoming. Do they have an explicit statement that welcomes LGBT Jews? Are same gender couples seen together on the bimah for an aliyah? Does the rabbi talk about issues related to LGBT people from the pulpit? Does the preschool have books and images of diverse kinds of families? Have membership and school forms been revised to exclude heterosexist biases?