With the Conservative movement poised to make a decision about the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis in the first week of December, I am pleased to share with you a program run by the Davidson School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA).
In Spring 2006, Elliot Glassenberg (a student in the Davidson School) approached several faculty members about organizing programming at JTS that would explore issues related to "Sexual Diversity in Jewish Education." Elliot worked with several students and faculty members to shape two programs that were open to the entire JTS community, and were sponsored by the Davidson School, Rabbinical School, Cantorial School, DSO, RSSO, and CSO.
The primary goal of this program series was to help participants think through how attention to the sexual diversity in our schools, congregations, and other Jewish institutions might enable an expanded inclusion of students, families, congregants, colleagues, etc. The guiding questions for each activity and discussion were framed to support participants in reflection upon the possibilities (and challenges) of changing a school/congregational culture, especially when there is a presumption in these institutions of a heterosexual norm.
With thanks to Dr. Steven Brown, Dean of the Davidson School, for permission to host this here, and to Dr. Shira Epstein for writing it up, New Jewish Education is proud to provide Elliot Glassenberg's program Engaging with Sexual Diversity as a Microsoft Word file. You have permission to use or repost this program as long as you credit your sources.
UPDATE Dec 6, 2006: Earlier today, the Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards moved to allow same-sex commitment ceremonies and the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis. The JTA has the full story here.