JQY Rabbi’s Project
Sometimes LGBTQ Orthodox advocacy and education require a more personal and informal approach than a training or a panel. Some of the most important work is often done in private conversations between small groups of people. This approach is vital when responding to a family or school crisis’s, where interventions for youth must be done quickly and precisely.
To this end, since 2002 JQY has continually run its premiere advocacy program known as The Rabbi’s Project. The way it works is that an Orthodox rabbi or leader is identified, and JQY sends two or three trained JQY members to speak with this rabbi/leader in private. Sometimes this rabbi is a person from a particular JQY member’s past, and sometimes this rabbi is a change maker in the Orthodox community who has influence over the way LGBTQ youth are treated. Often the rabbi is identified because he is involved with a situation that affects an individual JQY member.
- Rabbi’s Project helping Families: JQY is dedicated to keeping Orthodox families together. When JQY members experience family conflict due to Orthodox issues, JQY connects their families with well informed supportive Orthodox rabbis whom the families can feel comfortable speaking with. Identifying the right Orthodox leader who can best intervene with an individual family issues is an essential part of JQY support. Developing Orthodox Rabbinic connections are a hallmark of JQY's advocacy work.
Through The Rabbi’s Project JQY members have met with more than 200 Orthodox rabbis in private. The change accomplished has been astronomical. Youth have been accepted back in their families, Orthodox Schools have refrained from expelling LGBTQ students, and organizations have been stopped from running homophobic and transphobic programing.
Demystifying the idea of being Gay and Orthodox and personalizing it with names, faces and stories helps create inroads of tolerance in even the most stringent Orthodox communities. JQY Rabbi’s Project is able to create inroads because the advocacy comes from individuals who come from within the Orthodox community. We help our members arrange meetings with rabbis, former teachers and Orthodox leaders within their own communities.
Rabbi’s Project changes policy and rhetoric: We meet with Orthodox rabbis and leaders all over the country to talk about the sensitivities and needs of LGBT Jews in the Orthodox Community. From Ultra-Orthodox Gedolim like Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky to Modern Orthodox Rabbinic leaders like Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb JQY members have met with Rabbis across the spectrum of Orthodoxy. Through our Rabbi’s Project advocacy efforts, JQY led the OU (Orthodox Union) and RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) to withdraw their endorsements of harmful forms of "reparative" therapy, as well as disassociate themselves from Conversion therapy organizations.
For more information about the JQY Rabbi’s Project, or if you would like help speaking with an Orthodox Rabbi or leader about an issue relating to sexual orientation or gender identity contact us.