Thursday, January 26, 2006

You go URJ!

I learned today that the first transgender rabbinical student is currently enrolled at Hebrew Union College.

I'm proud of the Reform movement for being progressive, inclusive and open, and for realizing that it is just ridiculous to deny anyone the right to serve the Jewish community because of their gender or sexuality.

Sexual equality is certainly a huge hotbed issue in the Jewish community, and the battle is being fought at JTS, as they decide whether or not to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis. I am curious, does JTS consider transgender/transsexual individuals in their considerations? What specific language do they use, queer, lgbt, lgbtq?

This is a place where we must keep pushing the envelope. Today is a day where I'm really proud to have grown up Reform.

JTS doesn't have a policy about ordaining transfolk or not. But they do have a ruling that says post-op transfolk are who they've become. I assume that this means that transwomen can marry men, and that they've divorced the question from that of orientation entirely.
While the HUC rab student you mention was all over the news last summer, there are other out (and not-so-out) trans rabbis in Conservative and even Orthodox Judaism.

And, though the CCAR has a responsa on transsexuality that is fairly accepting, it does not stop congregations and rabbis from giving transsexual/transgender congregants a hard time, alienating them, and discouraging their participation.

JTS came out with responsa on transsexuals last year that was not well accepted by trans/queers. (It's mentioned in brief here.)

Thanks for posting. I know that I have much more to learn on this topic, and I'm happy you spoke up. I will check these links out soon.
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