Rabbi Toba Spitzer became the first openly lesbian or gay person chosen to head a rabbinical association in the United States in 2007, when she was elected president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association at the group's annual convention, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Spitzer leads Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton, Massachusetts.She is the author of God Is Here: Reimagining the Divine (2022).
The subject of homosexuality and Judaism dates back to the Torah. The book of Vayikra (Leviticus) is traditionally regarded as classifying sexual intercourse between males as a to'eivah that can be subject to capital punishment by the currently non-existent Sanhedrin under halakha.
Reconstructionist Judaism is a Jewish movement that views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization rather than a religion, based on concepts developed by Mordecai Kaplan (1881–1983). The movement originated as a semi-organized stream within Conservative Judaism and developed from the late 1920s to 1940s, before it seceded in 1955 and established a rabbinical college in 1967. Reconstructionist Judaism is recognized by some scholars as one of the five streams of Judaism alongside Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Humanistic.
Steven Greenberg is an American rabbi with a rabbinic ordination from the Orthodox rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (RIETS). He is described as the first openly gay Orthodox-ordained Jewish rabbi, since he publicly disclosed he is gay in an article in the Israeli newspaper Maariv in 1999 and participated in a 2001 documentary film about gay men and women raised in the Orthodox Jewish world.
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) is a Jewish seminary in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. It is the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. RRC has an enrollment of approximately 80 students in rabbinic and other graduate programs.
Naomi Levy is an American rabbi, author and speaker.
Magen Tzedek, originally known as Hekhsher Tzedek, is a complementary certification for kosher food produced in the United States in a way that meets Jewish Halakhic (legal) standards for workers, consumers, animals, and the environment, as understood by Conservative Judaism. Magen Tzedek certification is not a kashrut certification which certifies that food is kosher in that it meets certain requirements regarding ingredients of food and technical methods of animal slaughter, but an ethical certification complementary to conventional kosher certification.
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) founded in 1974, is the professional association of rabbis affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It has approximately 300 members, most of whom are graduates of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. The RRA is a member of a number of national coalitions including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The relationship between transgender people and religion varies widely around the world. Religions range from condemning any gender variance to honoring transgender people as religious leaders. Views within a single religion can vary considerably, as can views between different faiths.
The first openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clergy in Judaism were ordained as rabbis and/or cantors in the second half of the 20th century.
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is the first woman to have been ordained a rabbi in Reconstructionist Judaism. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, on May 19, 1974. She is also the author of many children's books on religious topics.
Denise Leese Eger is an American Reform rabbi. In March 2015, she became president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the largest and oldest rabbinical organization in North America; she was the first openly gay person to hold that position.
Sharon Kleinbaum is an American rabbi who serves as spiritual leader of New York City's Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. She has been an active campaigner for human rights and civil marriage for gay couples.
Dario David Hunter, also known as Yisroel Hunter, is an American rabbi, lawyer and politician. He is the first Muslim-born man to be ordained as a rabbi. A former member of the Youngstown, Ohio Board of Education, Hunter sought the 2020 Green Party presidential nomination, ultimately coming in second. He ran as the presidential nominee of the Oregon Progressive Party and elsewhere under the party label of Progressive Party in the 2020 United States presidential election.
Rabbi Jason Gary Klein became the first openly gay man chosen to head a national rabbinical association of one of the major Jewish denominations in the United States in 2013, when he was chosen as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He was also the first Hillel director to hold the presidency, the chief volunteer position of the organization. As of his election as president, Klein was the executive director of Hillel at UMBC, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a post he held from 2006 until 2013. He served as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association for two years—until 2015. As of July 2013 he became the Director of the Center for Jewish Life at JCP Downtown, the Jewish Community Project of Lower Manhattan, where he served until 2018.
Derech Mitzvosecha, also titled Sefer Hamitzvos, is an interpretive work on the Jewish commandments authored by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (1789–1866), the third Rebbe of the Chabad Hasidic movement. The work is considered a fundamental text of Chabad philosophy.
Stuart Weinblatt is an ordained rabbi and the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. He is the senior rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland. He and his wife founded the Conservative synagogue in 1988 with only a handful of families. The congregation’s membership is now over 650 families. Rabbi Weinblatt also served as Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly starting in 2009 and was tapped by the Jewish National Fund to head up and organize their "Rabbis for Israel" affinity group.
This is a timeline of LGBT Jewish history, which consists of events at the intersection of Judaism and queer people.
Sandra Lawson is a rabbi and the first Director of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Reconstructing Judaism. She previously served as Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life at Elon University. Lawson became the first openly gay, female, and black rabbi in the world in 2018. She is a veteran, vegan, sociologist, personal trainer, food activist, weightlifter, author and musician.