It is an interpretation that any Jewish child with a crayon can tell you: that the Star of David contains, within it, the triangle. For those of us...who would a generation ago have been wearing the pink triangle as a badge of shame and a mark of death...it is time to complete the outline of your Jewish star.
Let us learn that God's image is reflected in each and every face. Let us not add to our heartache by separating or by letting ourselves be separated from the Jewish people. As Jews, together, let us search through the Torah, the written Torah and the Torah of life, to find those affirmations for which we yearn.
Rabbi Alexander Schindler (z"l), President of the
Union of American Hebrew Congregations (1989)
The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, launched in 2000, is an innovative program of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). The Institute is the only program of its kind that trains future Jewish professionals, as they prepare for their careers as rabbis, educators and Jewish communal professionals, on the unique needs and issues of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Through workshops, educational seminars, and internships in LGBT organizations, the Institute has been successful in transforming the perceptions of students who have emerged from the College as more committed to promoting the full diversity of our Jewish community.
The Institute reached a milestone when Rabbi Erwin and Agnes Herman created a fund to establish the Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center in memory of their son who died of AIDS. This generous gift enabled the College-Institute to launch an on-line website presenting over 500 resources on the intersection of Judaism, sexual orientation and gender identity. These tools enable students, alumni and the general public, starting in 2006, to advance the cause of full participation and inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish religious, educational, cultural and communal life.
Now and in the future, HUC's rabbis will be the ones who can perform gay marriages and speak out loudly about doing so. HUC's educators will be the ones who make their schools friendly to LGBT students and LGBT parents. HUC's communal professionals will be in charge of Federations, family service agencies, and foundations that can speak to the needs of the LGBT community across the country.
To achieve our goals, HUC-JIR seeks gifts from private individuals and institutions to fulfill our mission and to make the Institute a permanent and integral part of the College-Institute. Funds support:
student internships in LGBT organizations
ongoing development of the Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center
innovative guest scholars
Ultimately, we seek to build an endowment fund of $5 million to keep this important Institute financially secure for future generations.
Currently, HUC-JIR's Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation is the only entity within the Jewish community with the explicit mission of preparing Jewish leadership with the capacity, compassion and skills to change congregational attitudes, policies, and, indeed, Jewish society so as to include each and every Jew.
We look forward to your joining with us in our mission.