July 26th, 2019
Working for the full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ Jewish youth and families in all parts of the Jewish community, Keshet engages and educates leaders and creates environments where people can be their whole selves.
Keshet offers teens and Jewish youth professionals ongoing and immersive training to shift the culture of Jewish institutions to greater inclusivity – grounding the work of LGBTQ inclusion in Jewish text and values. At Keshet’s Shabbat retreats—Shabbatonim—LGBTQ and ally Jewish teens can exhale and find their place and voice as emerging Jewish leaders. They build meaningful friendships, engage in deep Jewish learning, and return home inspired to make the world a better place.
Keshet didn’t just make me feel wanted or like I could exist. Keshet made me feel like I could be a leader.
– Jake Cohen, 16, California
Last year, Keshet expanded the Shabbatonim to include the South and Midwest, in addition to those held in the East and West Coasts, so more queer Jewish teens have the space to be their full selves. All of this is in addition to Keshet’s year-round work engaging queer Jewish teens through programs, conferences, and workshops, and through training more than 1,500 youth professional who work with teens.
The Shabbaton has been the place where I can most be me—fully, unapologetically, truly, wholly me.
– Alexandra Kohl, 21, New York
Beyond youth engagement, through Keshet’s Leadership Project (LP)—a year-long program that gathers, trains, and supports leaders of Jewish institutions to become more inclusive of LGBTQ individuals and families—Jewish leaders gain the tools to embrace LGBTQ Jews from all walks of life. Keshet engages rabbis, educators, and other leaders in synagogues, Jewish day schools, JCCs, youth movements, summer camps, and other community institutors across the country, pushing them to take brave, bold steps to make their institutions inclusive. Keshet’s nine active LP cohorts, comprised of 103 institutions that collectively serve 843,021 people, help ensure that LGBTQ Jews are fully seen, respected, and affirmed.
Keshet was a game-changer for our camp! We now have a crystal clear understanding of LGBTQ terminology and the confidence to use it. Our counselors are much more intentional about the language they use to express the gender diversity among our campers. Thanks to Keshet, our campers and their families know that they will be fully embraced for who they are.
– Sheryl Kirschenbaum, Director of Surprise Lake Camp, New York
Keshet’s vision is to build on these successes as it expands its efforts toward the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and families in Jewish life. By building relationships with Jewish leaders and institutions, and by creating opportunities for youth to grow and lead, Keshet fosters a Jewish community rooted in inclusion and human dignity—that ultimately shapes a better world for all.
The Jim Joseph Foundation is one of many funders of Keshet. Learn more here.