Inclusiveness is at the top of the agenda at the Movement for Reform Judaism’s biennial conference.
The theme for the conference is “counting all of us in”, and there will be sessions specifically aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews.
Rabbi Roderick Young, who is leading one of these meetings said; “LGBT singles and couples form an important part of the Jewish community.
“Sometimes the gay community has itself assumed that LGBT people are not interested in religion, since religious institutions have usually been so unwelcoming. However I think that it is vital that LGBT people should not let fundamentalists define what religion means for the rest of us.”
He said that he hoped the conference would encourage people to become involved with the community, regardless of their sexual orientation. The conference aims to attract delegates through Rabbis identifying marginalized members of their congregations and then personally inviting them to be involved.
“The Movement for Reform Judaism is now placing itself in the vanguard of those religious institutions that want to welcome gays and lesbians as full participants in the religious life of the community,” Rabbi Young explained.
The conference will be dealing with many different kinds of groups of people who may feel isolated from the Jewish community, but Rabbi Young’s session deals specifically with LGBT issues. His aim is to debate ways in which the Jewish community could be made a “welcoming home” for LGBT Jews.
“As an openly gay rabbi, I am proud to be a member of a movement that is making a difference,” Rabbi Young said.