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Elliot Draznin is the president of a Jewish sorority but does not identify as a woman. (Courtesy of Draznin)
BY JOSEFIN DOLSTEN for JTA
(JTA) — In December, the Jewish sorority at the University of Cincinnati elected a new president. The new leader was a founding member of the campus group who was highly involved in Jewish life at the university.
But the 21-year-old’s election was surprising in at least one way: For the first time, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, or SAEPi, would be led by someone not identifying as a woman.
BY MARCY OSTER FOR THE FORWARD
(JTA) — Louise Deser Siskel, a high school senior who will preside over the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade, says she is the first Jewish Rose queen in the parade’s 101-year history.
Siskel, 18, also told the local media that she is the first LGBTQ queen and the first queen that wears glasses, though none of these firsts have been officially verified.
By Aiden Pink for The Forward
Leah Forster is the Orthodox world’s favorite lesbian Jewish comedian.
Admittedly, there’s not much competition for that title. But for nearly a decade, Forster was one of the most popular entertainers in the community, until she walked away from the business and her strict ultra-observant lifestyle. Now she’s making a comeback in both the religious and secular worlds — but some ultra-Orthodox rabbis are trying to stop her.
By Kashmira Gander for the Independent
The lesbian, gay, bi, and trans-rights charity Stonewall has enlisted faith role models to tackle the idea that religion and sexuality are mutually exclusive
Organised religion and sexuality haven't always been the most comfortable bedfellows. And interpretations of religious texts, from the Bible to the Quran, have been used to argue that being LGBTQ is a sin. In some 74 countries around the world same-sex relationships are illegal, while the rights of trans people remain unprotected - with religion often a sticking point for progression.
BY ARIELLE KAPLAN for Kveller
The saying “opposites attract” has never been truer for Jess Salomon and Eman El-Husseini. One’s a Jew from Canada, the other’s a daughter of a Palestinian family. Salomon is a Taurus, and El-Husseini is a Leo. One’s a ginger, the other a brunette. So, nu? What’s the glue that keep this Odd Couple together? Love, of course.
BY SPENCER WELLS for newvoices.org
On January 9th, 2018, Blaze Bernstein’s corpse was discovered in a shallow grave in Lake Forest, California. Bernstein’s murder came in the wake of the year that had, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the largest single-year increase of anti-Semitic incidents on record. Bernstein was a 19-year-old gay, Jewish man. His alleged killer is 21-year-old Samuel Woodward, a peer of Bernstein’s from high school. According to an investigation by ProPublica, Woodward has been involved with the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group with a violent history. (Among other evidence, ProPublica obtained photographs of Woodward at a Atomwaffen meeting, including a photo in which he gives a straight-armed Nazi salute).
Monday, December 24, 2018 in NYC at Stage48
‘Tis the Season to be Jewish…
Now in it’s 12th year, A Christmas Eve Jewbilee brings together over 1,000+ gay Jews from around the world (& the goytoys who ❤️ us) to celebrate Christmas Eve in a whole new way!
This year, we’re taking over 3 floors of Stage48 (ok, well the 3rd floor is coatcheck – but we all appreciate a mega-well staffed coatcheck!). DJ Nandi spins the top American & Israeli pop tunes throughout this santa-less night. New performances this year w/creative direction by Jared Bradford.
By Shoshana Olidort for Tablet Magazine
Joy Ladin’s new book, ‘Soul of the Stranger,’ explores her intimate connection with God
“If I were God, and I wanted to invent religion, and the material I had to work with was a patriarchal society, I would make the religion as patriarchal as I could,” Joy Ladin told me when we spoke by phone recently. This may seem like a surprising comment coming from a transgender Jewish poet and scholar, but Ladin is a person of faith and this stance informs the trans theology at the center of her new book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, in which Ladin offers close readings of key biblical passages to question pervasive assumptions about a religiously mandated gender binary.
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Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?
Beth El is getting a new playground! If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground." If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!
Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects
For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.
We have a very special service January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his heroic work.
We will be joined by our talented 5th grade class and singer-songwriter, LEA.
Come for a fast and fun night of trivia, food and comaraderie on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00 pm, at Beth El. Adults and teens (7th grade and up) can play! The cost is $35 per person (includes: dinner and participation), BYOB. Bring cash to buy optional extra chits to help your table become the champion! Separate, supervised Kids Night Out - $10 per child (6th grade and younger; includes casual dinner, movie & games). RSVP: by Monday, February 18, Advance Ticket Sales Only. Register here Questions: Contact Anne Levy, [email protected] Proceeds will go to the Beth El Playground Fund.
Please sign up for Ushering at Beth El for Friday Night Services
This is a great opportunity to see and meet fellow congregants.Please use the link to sign up:
Support During Shutdown
As the frustrating government shutdown drags on, we extend our sympathies during this anxious time for you and your family. While Beth El Hebrew Congregation is not a direct service provider, we can offer temporary dues relief until the shutdown has ended. We hope this resource list can be an asset during this difficult time and pray for an immediate resolution:
What Furloughed Workers Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits: https://tinyurl.com/yd3v7w29
A Furloughed Federal Employee’s Guide to Filing for Unemployment: https://tinyurl.com/y9qltsjt
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: tps://tinyurl.com/y8sg3mum
Alexandria Center for Economic Support: https://tinyurl.com/yd66o7mj
Coordinated Services Fairfax County: https://tinyurl.com/y8f9e4vg
Local Restaurants Offering Free or Discounted Meals and More: https://tinyurl.com/ybmozmt3
There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.