Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jewish LGBTQ teen retreat to be held

Jewish organizations are partnering for a Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) teen shabbaton.

“This shabbaton is an incredible opportunity for LGBTQ Jewish teens to celebrate who they are,” Idit Klein, executive director of Keshet, one of the sponsoring groups, said in a statement. “Bullying and peer pressure are day-to-day realities for so many young people.”

The shabbaton, the first organized by the groups, will held Aug. 24-26 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.

The weekend will include workshops on “LGBTQ Themes in Jewish Text” and “Starting a Gay-Straight Alliance,” along with a performance from hip-hop music artist Y-Love, an Orthodox Jew who recently came out publicly as gay, and a talkback with film director Irena Fayngold, who made the documentary “Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School.” 

“The shabbaton will provide a space for queer teens to express their identities as Jews as well as members of the LGBTQ community,” Amram Altzman, a gay teen from New York and a member of the weekend’s steering committee, said in a statement. “It will give our generation of Jewish leaders the tools we need to continue to work for equality in our home communities."

In addition to Keshet, other organizations joining as partners in the August weekend are the BBYO, Habonim Dror North America, Jewish Community Centers Association, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth's Aleph Project, National Federation of Temple Youth, No’ar Hadash, Rockville Open House, United Synagogue Youth and Young Judaea, along with the gathering’s financial sponsor, UJA-Federation of New York. -- JTA

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