LGBT@JTS: New York Conference

Author: JTS
Published: March 10, 2017

A conference, concert, and celebration to mark the tenth anniversary of the Jewish Theological Seminary decision to admit openly gay and lesbian students to its rabbinical and cantorial schools.

Queer Jewish rock musician Ezra Furman will play and Rabbis Benay Lappe (RS 1997), Gil Steinlauf (RS 1998) and Amichai Lau-Lavie (RS 2016) will speak at the conference, to be held March 19 at 12 noon at the JTS Center in New York.

Alumni, current students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders will join together for plenaries, break-out sessions, food and a celebratory party.

Gil Steinlauf, senior rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC, is widely respected for his success in re-envisioning the nature of this historic synagogue. Rabbi Steinlauf is the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, Conservative congregation to come out as gay, and through his honesty, has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on the issues facing modern culture and Judaism.

Rabbi Benay Lappe is the founder of SVARA, a “traditionally radical yeshiva” that studies Jewish text from a queer perspective. Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, Benay is an award-winning educator specializing in the application of queer theory to Talmud study. Rabbi Lappe was named as one of the Forward’s “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in 2014 and is a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for innovative Jewish education.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the founding spiritual leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performance artist, he received his rabbinical ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2016. Rabbi Amichai has been hailed as “an iconoclastic mystic” by Time Out New York, and in 2016 the Forward named him one of the 32 “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in America.

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