Diversity & Inclusion

Interfaith Pride Service 2023

In August 2018, Temple Emanuel created a LGBTQ+ Task Force to ensure that our community is welcoming and inclusive. After all, Reform Judaism has a long and proud history of working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in Jewish life and for their full civil rights. The social justice hub of the Reform movement, the Religious Action Center (RAC), has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ equality.

Our rabbi proudly performs same-sex marriages and participates in advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. But this isn’t enough. Since our inception, we have accomplished the following:

  • Posted Safe Space stickers in the building and on our website. 
  • Added Temple Emanuel to Keshet’s Equality Guide
  • Purchased LGBTQ+ books for the Pollon Family Library
  • Converted a bathroom in the “upper level” of ECDC to be a gender neutral bathroom with a privacy lock and appropriate signage
  • Hosted A Conversation with Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry on “Making More Progress for Gay & Transgender People in Our Community, Pennsylvania, the US, and the World: What Can We Do?” sponsored by the Sajowitz Endowment Fund, it was open to the community and about 100 attended
  • Planned and held Temple’s first Pride Shabbat in June 2019
  • Held a session on LGBTQ issues in the Jewish community with Rabbi Menachem Creditor during Sajowitz Weekend in February 2020
  • Sold rainbow pride kippot
  • Planned Pride Shabbat and then retooled it for the virtual space

Ensuring that we continue to have LGBTQ+ programming is important, but now we’re at the point where there are too many important initiatives to tackle beyond LGBTQ+ issues – especially now, with Black Lives Matter, we should be doing more to support BIPOC Jews and community members. Temple Emanuel also needs to address people with disabilities, making sure the building is accessible in all ways, and that their needs are being met as congregants.

We could continue to create task forces with narrow focus, but then we risk leaving a group in need out. As such, the LGBTQ+ Task Force has transitioned (no pun intended) to one that covers inclusion as a whole: a Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. The URJ calls this Audacious Hospitality: “the focused effort on racial diversity, equity, and inclusion (REDI) work.”

Stay tuned for the results of our efforts!