Inclusion: Becoming Open and Welcoming
The central mission of the the Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity focuses on the creation of welcoming spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in the Jewish world. Truly welcoming LGBT Jews into our synagogues and organizations means appreciating their gifts, allowing them and their concerns to be visible, and eliminating heterosexual biases.

Dr. Bernard Schlager whose research on congregational inclusion is included in this section writes that "any process of welcoming means that the congregation at large will necessarily be transformed by the GLBT people who are invited to live as 'out' members of the congregation. Those congregations that fear such transformations are not ready to incorporate in any meaningful way GLBT people who bring unique gifts, talents, and needs to the community-at-large and perhaps even challenge their non-GLBT coreligionists in ways that may make some of them profoundly uncomfortable. To welcome GLBT people into congregations of faith is risky business precisely because it is an invitation that involves change on the part of those who have the power to do the welcoming."1

Transformation and change take time, dedication and planning. Fortunately, the path has been trod before and there is research and literature on how to create welcoming and inclusive organizations as well as first person accounts of those who have done so. This section includes those resources from Jewish settings as well as other denominations that have worked to become open to LGBT people. We are always collecting new resources as well so please share your stories and resources with us.

1 2004 report entitled, With Open Arms: Gay Affirming Ministries in Bay Area Faith Communities by Bernard Schlager, Ph.D. The full report can be viewed at

Click on a title below to view information about a resource.

Title Author Movement/Affiliation
Bernard Schlager, Ph.D.  Non-denominational 
Rabbi Steven Greenberg  Orthodox 
Rabbi Joshua Lesser  Reconstructionist 
Rabbi Robert Gluck  Reconstructionist 
Roberta Israeloff  Reconstructionist  
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism  Reform 
Rabbi Denise Eger  Reform 
  Unitarian Universalist 
  United Church of Christ 
Moshe Shokeid  Non-denominational 
Jay Michaelson  Non-denominational 
Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder  United Church of Christ 
Congregation Sha'ar Zahav  Reform 
Timothy Palmer & Rev. Debra W. Haffner  Non-denominational 
Diego Ribadeneira  Non-denominational 
Cantor Ken Richmond  Non-denominational 
Rabbi Harold M. Shulweis  Conservative  
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation  Reconstructionist 
Lisa Mottet and Justin Tanis   Non-denominational 
Reuben Zellman  Non-denominational 
Karen Bekker   Non-denominational 
IJSO & Jewish Mosaic  Non-denominational 
Kate M. Ott, PhD, Study Director, The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing  Non-denominational 
The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing  Non-denominational 
Gregg Drinkwater  Non-denominational 
Aleph  Renewal 
Chuck Colbert, Boston Spirit  Reform 
Rabbi Fred Guttman  Reform 
Joanna Blotner, Religion & Faith Program Coordinator of the HRC  Non-denominational 
Liberal Judaism  Liberal Judaism (UK) 
Liberal Judaism  Liberal Judaism (UK) 
Congregation Or Ami  Reform 
Valley Beth Shalom  Conservative  
Congregation B'nai Israel  Reform 
Professor Steven Cohen, Dr. Caryn Aviv, & Dr. Judith Veinstein  Non-denominational 
Temple Sinai, Buffalo, NY   Reconstructionist 
Kol Halev, Cleveland, OH  Reconstructionist 
Chancellor Arnold Eisen  Conservative