The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford identified a need for the creation of a safe space for Jewish teens to explore issues of gender and sexual identity. In collaboration with the Mandell Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Teen Learning Connection (JTConnect), Hebrew High School of New England, local rabbis and other professionals, we are developing effective ways of responding to this need. In May of 2016, 20 community professionals who work with teens participated in a workshop led by Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life. We are now expanding the scope of the program to include LGBTQ adults.
We continue to work to ensure that LGBTQ Jews are welcome throughout the Jewish community, especially in those institutions that work to educate our youth and introduce them to Jewish life. Federation will provide needed support to organizations and programs that strive to grow and strengthen the Jewish LGBTQ community, and develop leaders, provide mentorship, training opportunities, and board placement.