Data from the First National Synagogue Survey on Diversity & LGBT Inclusion in the Jewish World to be Released in NY; Co-Sponsored by IJSO

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Results of research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusion in the Jewish world will be released at a two-day meeting at The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan on February 22 and 23. Issues of intermarriage, Jews by choice, people with disabilities and Jews of Color were also part of the study. A second conference will be held in Los Angeles on March 1-2. Speakers at both locations will feature leaders from Judaism's main seminaries, experts in congregational change, leaders in LGBT inclusion from both Jewish and Christian settings and rabbis from each of the Jewish movements to discuss “best practices” and strategies for change.

Media are invited to speak with Prof. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR, and Dr. Caryn Aviv, Jewish Mosaic's Director of Research and a Jewish studies scholar at the University of Denver, along with the rest of the research team on:

Monday, Feb. 23 at 1pm at The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street, NY, NY - 10024 - phone 646. 505.4444

Survey Highlights:
3,000 congregations across North America with 1,221 respondents to the e-survey, including 760 rabbis. Major denominational differences on indicators of welcoming were clear.
Most rabbis (73%) think their congregations do a good or excellent job welcoming gays and lesbians but very few use language in their mission statements or web sites to signal a welcome for LGBT Jews.
Rabbis feel that rabbinical seminaries should teach more about diverse groups: 91% favor more on disabilities, 86% on racially and ethnically diverse Jews, 78% on gays and lesbians, and 72% on transgender Jews.
41% of rabbis whose congregations pro-actively reached out to gay and lesbian Jews reported gaining members as a result and only 2% reported losing members.



This event is part of a two-day strategic convening on the topic of LGBT inclusion in synagogues. The Institute for Judaism & Sexual Orientation and Jewish Mosaic, in collaboration with Dr. Steven M. Cohen, have been conducting research on how synagogues across all Jewish movements respond to diversity issues.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu