This month, we are learning more about the organization Keshet and how it works to support the LGBTQ+ community. This organization is one of the four nonprofits that will receive a grant from the Mama Bears Giving Circle in the spring of 2024!
Keshet envisions a world in which all LGBTQ Jews and their families can live with full equality, justice, and dignity. By strengthening Jewish communities and equipping Jewish organizations with the skills and knowledge they need to make all LGBTQ Jews feel welcome, they work to ensure the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and their families in Jewish life. They also create spaces in which all queer Jewish youth feel seen and valued and advance LGBTQ rights nationwide.
Not too long ago, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Jews were largely invisible in American Jewish life. Marriage equality wasn’t on anyone’s radar — certainly not on the radar of most synagogues and Jewish organizations — and there was not a single gay-straight alliance at a Jewish high school.
Keshet changed that reality. Founded in 1996 as a small, volunteer-run group in Greater Boston by Jonathan Krasner and Jared Goldfarb, Keshet is now a national organization with offices in the Bay Area, Chicago, and New York, in addition to their headquarters in Boston. They are the only organization in the U.S. that works for LGBTQ equality in all facets of Jewish life — synagogues, Hebrew schools, day schools, youth groups, summer camps, social-service organizations and other communal agencies. They have developed the leadership of LGBTQ Jewish teens, trained Jewish educators to prevent anti-LGBTQ bullying and celebrate LGBTQ Jewish identity, and mobilized Jewish communities to protect marriage equality and transgender rights.