Inclusion | Page 2 | Reconstructing Judaism

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Inclusion

We welcome all into our communities regardless of ability, age, race, sexual orientation, family status or level of knowledge. Because we see ourselves as embodying a spark of the divine (b’tzelem Elohim, cf. Genesis 1:26), we understand that every person has infinite worth; therefore, no human being should be treated merely as an object, and we should always attempt to see the humanity in those we encounter.

Resources on inclusion can be found below. In addition, please see our page of public positions and endorsements.

Resources on Inclusion

A  Passover Blessing for People of Many Backgrounds Who Journey with Us

This is a short Passover reading that expresses appreciation for people of backgrounds and identities other than Judaism. It would work well in a community seder, as well as home seders. 

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The Midwives of Exodus: An Interfaith Text Study

An easily-accessible text study about the ethnic ambiguity that the Torah presents us with regarding the midwives who refused to obey Pharaoh's orders. 

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Text Study on the Creation Story: The Nature of the First Human

In the first two chapters of the Torah, we find two different accounts of the creation of humanity. In this text study, Rabbi Maurice Harris explores the tension between these two stories, and presents a teaching from Midrash Bereishit Rabbah that presents food for thought about gender, essentialism, and the nature of humanity. 

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“Straight-Welcoming?!” – Creating an Inclusive Community

Lesser describes the evolution of an LGBT synagogue and dissects the meaning of inclusive community.

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Judaism in Three Dimensions

Jodi Bromberg advocates moving beyond simplistic labels to appreciate our rich and diverse Jewish community in all of its complexity.

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Jews and Fellow Travelers: Appreciating the Gifts of Non-Jewish Partners

Rabbi Harris’s article focuses on the benefits that non-Jews, mostly with Jewish partners, bring to the community. Harris leads us away from the “framework of cost” to open up the conversation on intermarriage.

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Inclusion and Disabilities: Hebrew and English Texts

Rabbi Michelle Greenfield examines Biblical and rabbinic sources on disability. She examines the use and misuse of Hebrew texts that are often quoted when talking about inclusion of people with different abilities. Her English commentary provides a deeper understanding of these texts' strengths and limitations.

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Making Seder and Kiddush More Inclusive

Wine is the traditional vehicle for prominent Jewish ritual moments. At the same, Jewish communities contain people who struggle with alcohol.  Rabbi Richard Hirsh outlines simple steps to recognize and support all in a community who wish to participate. 

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Understanding Transgender Issues in Jewish Ethics

Drawing on the surprisingly sophisticated classical Jewish perspective on sex and gender, Rabbi David Teutch advocates for celebration and inclusion of transgender people as a fundamental issue of justice.

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Fighting for a Good Name

With few transgender role models, Rabbi Jacob Lieberman, ’15, faced harassment and bullying almost entirely alone growing up. As an adult, he found acceptance within the Reconstructionist community and from himself. In this d’var torah, Rabbi Lieberman shares how Jewish resources can help comfort those who struggle to find acceptance and wholeness.

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Prayer for AIDS Awareness Shabbat

Prayers written for insertion into Aids Awareness Shabbat services

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My Questions for This Pesach Season

Passover conversations with non-Jews who are part of Jewish communities and families

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Coming Out

Reflecting on his own coming out, Rabbi Jacob Staub examines the varieties of tolerance, inclusion, and being considered “normal.” 

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The Value of a Different Path

In valuing parenthood, Rabbi Jacob Staub argues, we must not devalue the experiences and wisdom of those who are not parents. 

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Seeing the Other

Rabbi Jacob Staub reflects on the difference between welcoming others and seeing through their eyes.

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