Congregation Har HaShem has partnered with Keshet, a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life. It is the only organization in the U.S. that works for LGBTQ inclusion in all facets of Jewish life including synagogues, Hebrew schools, day schools, youth groups, summer camps, social service organizations, and other communal agencies.
The Reform Movement has been an advocate of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights since 1965, when the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) passed a resolution calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. In 1977, the URJ and the CCAR passed their first resolutions dealing with this issue, calling for human rights for homosexuals. Since then, the various departments of the URJ including CCAR, WRJ, CSA, and NFTY have passed resolutions dealing with issues specific to Reform Judaism, such as inclusion of gays and lesbians in the rabbinate and cantorate, as well as national issues, such as support for civil marriage, elimination of discrimination within the Armed Forces and the Boy Scouts, and support for explicit workplace non-discrimination and civil rights legislation. Gay, lesbian and bisexual outreach and inclusion has been of great importance to the Reform Movement in recent years. The URJ Task Force on Gay and Lesbian Inclusion, headed by the late Rabbi Julie Spitzer, created a manual called Kulanu (All of Us): A Program for Congregations Implementing Inclusion. This text is aimed at helping congregations include gay and lesbian members and families and deal with gay and lesbian issues. The URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns also deals with gay and lesbian issues.
In addition, the Reform Jewish movement is committed to working to secure civil rights for gay men and lesbians, including the right to civil marriage. Both the URJ and the CCAR have adopted resolutions in support of gay and lesbian partnerships. In its 1993 resolution, the URJ resolved, among other things, to call upon congregations to extend the same benefits that are afforded to heterosexual spouses of staff members to homosexual partners of staff members. The CCAR, in its 1996 resolution on gay and lesbian partnerships, resolved to “oppose governmental efforts to ban gay and lesbian marriage.” The most recent major Reform movement on the issue was the March 2000 passage of the CCAR resolution on “Same Gender Officiation,” followed by the Commission on Social Action’s January memorandum regarding the Boy Scouts of America.