5 things we learned about LGBTQIA+ inclusion


Earlier this month the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the St. Paul Jewish Federation teams met at the Barry Family Campus for a LGBTQIA+ inclusion training led by J-Pride Program Coordinator Jayce Koester. Jayce began the training with a discussion of the thought-provoking essay Shipwrecked with God.

I knew that even if God ‘abhorred’ me, God was there. Abhorrence is a visceral reaction. If God “abhorred” me, God must be very close.
— Joy Ladin, Shipwrecked with God

Following the discussion, the teams focused on Jewish values that guide inclusion and discussed tactical ways to make sure that all feel welcome in our community. Below, five things we took away from the training:

1. Prioritizing inclusion policies is led by Jewish traditions—we are invested in and responsible for each other.

2. Jayce identified three Jewish values that pave the way for LGBTQIA+ inclusion:

Al tifrosh min hatzbor: Don’t separate yourself from the community

Shmirat Halashon: Guard the use of language; lead with curiosity

B’tselem Elohim: We are all make in the image of the divine

3. Ask how someone identifies themselves, and default to that definition and understanding. If you misgender someone you can apologize and correct yourself without making a big deal out of it, and shifting the burden on the person you misgendered.

4. When referring to a transgender person who has transitioned, avoid saying, for example, “she was born a man.” Use the phrase “assigned at birth.” As in, Rachel was assigned male at birth but now uses the pronouns she/her

5. We should commit to changing how we speak and act because it reflects our values, not because we feel we have to. Be welcoming because it’s the kind of person you want to be—not because you’re forced to do it.

Interested in an inclusion training through a Jewish lens? Contact Jayce Koester at 612-481-1037 or jkoester@jfcsmpls.org.

Daci Plattlocal, JFCS, mjf team