New Rabbi in Town

We learn at Triad City Beat about a new rabbi for one of Greensboro’s prominent progressive/socialist synagogues. It is a 31 year old woman names Grace Gleason. I will publish excerpts:

I had a wonderful rabbi who was a queer woman and I had an epiphany that I could do that. It’s not unheard of. That was 10 years ago. I knew I needed to learn Hebrew so I devoted myself to study and went to rabbinical school…

Her class was a room full of mostly intergenerational queer people and we were all memorizing this ancient text and really taking ownership of it, discussing it and knowing it from front to back. And she told us that the pedagogy of this text belongs to you even if you don’t fit the typical profile. That this was our shared Jewish ownership and that it’s full of riches and it’s for all of us. That was a very liberatory community…

On a small scale, one of my goals is that through my personal relationships with the young people in our community, that every trans kid who walks through our doors feels safe and celebrated. It’s just about recognizing how a synagogue or church functions as a third space that’s not school or home where they can find refuge or just to have another place to feel safe and celebrated and welcome. It can be through small things like having a sticker on our doors that says “Safe Zone LGBTQ+.”

I also think there’s so much resource within our tradition of celebrating queer people. There’s also a lot of horrible things in our tradition that we shouldn’t hide from, but the way Judaism has changed so much, rethinking the law and reinterpreting it, I think there’s a lot of space within Judaism to celebrate people.

No commentary is required. The article speaks for itself.


2 thoughts on “New Rabbi in Town


    ” The sources of Judaism’s traditional position on homosexuality and gay issues are well known. Two verses in Leviticus (Leviticus 18:23 and Leviticus 20:13) express unequivocal condemnation of male homosexual sex (although it is not clear whether what is referred to is intercourse or all sexual acts between men). According to Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

    “As evident by its language, the biblical prohibition does not extend to female homosexual acts, though later commentators disapproved of lesbianism. One rabbinic source associates female homosexuality with the activities of the Egyptians and Canaanites, from which the Jews are supposed to abstain. Other authorities describe lesbianism as lewd or promiscuous, but do not consider it a capital offense. The Leviticus verses also imply that it is the act of homosexual sex, not the homosexual person, that is abhorred. ”

    ” Nonetheless, the traditional Jewish position on homosexuality is still difficult for many liberal-minded Jews, and the liberal denominations have debated the extent to which gays and lesbians can be fully integrated into religious communities. ”

    In Judaism, one is only responsible for religious obligations that one can freely choose to fulfill. Thus some Jewish authorities have argued that since homosexuality is not chosen, its expression cannot be forbidden.

    “Indeed, the Reform movement does not condemn homosexual sex, and openly gay people are eligible for admittance into Reform rabbinical schools. In addition, the Reform movement approves of rabbinic officiation at same-sex marriages and commitment ceremonies.”

    ” Another major development in the second decade of the 21st century has been growing acceptance of and support for transgender people, those who identify as a different gender than the one they were born into. ”

    ” The Reform movement in 2015 issued a resolution expressing support for transgender rights, and months later the Conservative movement issued a similar one. In addition, many Jewish institutions — including summer camps — have begun taking steps to accommodate and welcome transgender Jews. ”

    So there you have it !

    1. I was driving around today doing my Saturday morning errands, Fred. I drove through the intersection of Hobbs and Jefferson. There was no sign of migrant housing activity at the Hebrew school as of yet, although that might be difficult to see from the road. The reform synagogue across the street has a sign promoting its early childhood education program. I don’t think I would recommend anyone sending their kids there.

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