The LGBTQ Synagogue / Community / Social Justice / Social Justice Blog

Regular updates on different social justice events and topics both in CBST and beyond, including Koleinu, our Congregation Based Community Organizing initiative, as well as our exciting work in building a Jewish LGBTQ movement.

A floor of our own may become a reality.  Deirdre Downes, Director of Social Services at Jewish Home LifeCare (JHL), said the JHL Board has approved the concept and will integrate it into the new facility they are designing.  While Koleinu, the on-going social justice initiative at CBST, applauds the JHL initiative, don't hold your breath:  Implementation is at least five years down a road littered with many obstacles. 

In the meantime...  

At our June 15 conversation with JHL, Koleinu and JHL's Downes exchanged information about LGBTQ health care / elder care concerns.  We also conveyed to Ms Downes that the CBST community is more concerned about "attitude." 

Attitude!  Empathy!  We ...

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This post originally appeared on Pursue and is on Tackling Torah . It is the second in a series on reinventing Jewish rituals (which I will be writing for Pursue). To read the first post on memorials/yartzeits, click here .
June is full of irony: not only is June Pride month, but it is also the unofficial start to wedding season. So many are still fighting for equal marriage. As I write this, lawmakers in Albany are struggling to garner enough votes to make same-sex ...

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New Yorkers, calls these lawmakers, particularly if you are one of their constituents, and urge them to support passage of the bill.

Senator Gregory R. Ball of Putnam County (845) 279-3773

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. of Suffolk County (516) 882-0630

Senator J. Kemp Hannon of Nassau County (516) 739-1700

Senator Andrew J. Lanza of Staten Island (718) 984-4073

Senator Betty Little of Glens Falls (518) 743-0968

Senator Mark Grisanti of Erie County (518) 455-3240

Senator Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie (845) 463-0840

Senator John Flanagan ...

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Yesterday, June 20, 300 people came to the halls outside the Senate Majority Chambers, to shout their position on the Marriage Equality Bill, hoping to influence Senator Skelos.  A bill is being fine tuned to satisfy the religious objectors, while not infringing on anyone's human rights.  Rabbis Kleinbaum and Cohen, along with other members of CBST, other clergy of all denominations from across the state and lay people of faith, crammed the corridors outside the chambers where Republican senators were conferencing on this bill.  

The folks from cbst were joined by other supporters, as they sang Hebrew and English songs, ...

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New York State is closer every day to winning the freedom for all to marry! Join us for a very important rally to make sure Albany knows you support marriage equality for all New Yorkers.

Where: West Capitol Park  (oustide the State Capitol, Albany )

When: Tuesday, June 21 at 12:00 Noon

Detail are on the Flier:

Let us know if you'll be heading up!

If you'll be driving up, please ...

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Any objections to the Marriage Equality Bill now in Albany is bigotry cloaked in religious garb. Nothing more, nothing less. The First Amendment to our constitution protects religious freedom. No religion can be "coerced" into sanctifying same sex weddings if they religiously object. This Bill is about CIVIL LICENSES not about RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES. The Catholic Church does not recognize religious ceremonies for divorced people, but New York State does not allow the Catholic Church to outlaw all civil licenses for those who have been divorced. Those who use religion as a weapon against LGBT people are blaspheming God's name.

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It has come to my attention that Agudath Israel of America, a leading Orthodox Jewish organization, has advised their constituents to call upon our senators to stop gay marriage in New York.  As a gay jew, I am offended that an organization claiming to represent the Jewish people continues to fight against human rights in the political sphere. It's unbecoming of our people, who know deeply the consequences of being treated like second-class citizens, to behave this way. Though our Senators’ voicemail might be full, do attempt to keep calling.  Also, I encourage you to identify yourself as a gay ...

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As the CBST community assembled for Tikkun Leyl Shavuot and prepared to receive Torah, we examined the epidemic of queer youth homelessness through a Jewish lens.  For me, the tikkun was inspiring as it created a space in which our religious practice and social justice work could come together, each informing the other.

Members of our Koleinu Marriage Equality & LGBT Rights Action Team led the first session.  Our text study, based on excerpts from the Book of Ruth, focused on the complex experience of journeying to or from a home -- what does it mean to have or not have ...

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