Identity, Religion, Sex & Gender


At my workplace, on the front table, amongst the literature, flyers, and other assorted hand outs, is a pamphlet on making Jewish spaces transgender friendly. It doesn’t actually include much by way of suggestions or resources, but it’s a start.
So I was pleased to see that TransTorah was launched last week. Their mission is to help people of all genders fully access and transform Jewish tradition, and to help Jewish communities become
welcoming sanctuaries for people of all genders. Their website is a hub of resources: links to many trans-friendly services and organizations, liturgy and rituals, divrei torah, and educational material. They also offer pastoral guidance and ritual facilitation (or can connect you with folks who can).
It’s put together by a small collective. I’m hoping that as word spreads, the breadth of materials will increase. While they specify that their project aims to make Judaism more inclusive and accessible for people who are “gender-nonconforming,” “genderqueer and trans,” I’m hoping that it will grow to include resources for both allies and “gender-conforming” trans people (that is, people who are not out, whose lives and Jewish practices are still impacted by their identity). They are also looking for transwomen and people on the MTF spectrum to get involved. (I do wonder how this differs from the resources on Jewish Mosaic, especially since there’s an overlap in authors.)
As someone jokingly said, this site could have been mandatory pre-reading for the past Summer Institute. (I would link to all of the posts that mentioned gender, feminism, and the Institute, but it seems they were lost to the recent Jewschool server crashes. Alas.)

4 thoughts on “TransTorah

  1. Kurious, it doesn’t take much googling to discover that there are far more than 40 people for whom this is relevant. There are listservs, message boards, LJ communities, etc., for Jews who are trans. Add in their families, friends, partners, etc., who might also want/need support and resources, and I find it hard to understand why this shouldn’t be discussed.

  2. Sounds reasonable. I agree that all Jews should be made to feel welcome in synagogues. I just got the impression sometimes, that people are trying to change a lot in order to appease a small group.

  3. As feygele mentioned, many trans jews (and transpeople in general) are “gender conforming” and are not necessarily visible as trans. Unfortunately, our communities are not always safe places to talk about that experience, and, as a result, you will not always hear about the transpeople in your community. Maybe it is precisely because it is so easy for someone to think that it’s only “40” people who are affected by the transgender experience, that increased visibility and discussion is important for all of us.
    There are, of course, more than 40 people. But- say there weren’t-do you really think that the jewish community should only focus its resources on people who manage to be mainstream? It would, in my opinion, be a strange stance for a nation as small as ours- itself a minority among the nations of the world.

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