Rainbow Jews is a pioneering project that records and showcases Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history from the 1950s to today. For the first time in British history, it captures the voices and experiences of Jewish LGBT people in the UK through oral histories and archive creation.
Since 2012, this volunteer-led initiative has amassed more than 40 personal testimonies from LGBTQI Jews and allies in Britain. The stories of love and loss, struggles and victories, form the core of the archive. Among them the pioneers: the first rabbis to come out, the people who struggled against prejudice and rejection in the 1980s AIDS crisis and the founders of the first LGBT-friendly synagogue. The Rainbow Jews collection, including documents and a digitised oral history, is held at the London Metropolitan Archives. A unique travelling exhibition was also created and launched at the London School of Economics for LGBT History Month 2014.
Rainbow Jews is hosted by the UK charity Liberal Judaism and was supported by the Lottery Heritage Fund until August 2014.
The project now relies completely on donations and community support. Please contact the Rainbow Jews team via www.rainbowjews.com to find out more and how you can support this ground-breaking initiative.
“Rainbow Jews doesn’t just reflect British LGBT history, it reflects the story of the Jews: we’ve heard stories going back even further than the Holocaust, from diaspora across the continents. Identities are multifaceted, and this project shows the interconnection between faith identity and other identities. Our collective memory needs to be preserved. We have to make sure our history will not become our past!’’ (Surat Knan, founder)
Muslims, Jews and Christians on being LGBT and believing in God (The Independent / April 5, 2017)
Transgender Study Opens in Archives (Jewish Chronicle / September 2, 2016)
“People Think We Wake Up and Decide to Be Trans” (The Guardian / July 10, 2016)
Largest Jewish Delegation Celebrates London Pride (Jewish News / June 28, 2016)
Out and Proud Trans Jew (Jewish News / December 30, 2016)
Why All Jews Can Sit Under the Rainbow Flag (Jewish Chronicle / February 29, 2016)
God and a Broader Gender Expression (Haaretz / February 15, 2016)
My Trans Coming Out Story (Gay Star News / February 12, 2016)
Trans is the New Gay (Jewish News UK / October 9, 2015)
Man, Woman & Everything in Between: Story of a Trans Jew (TLV1 / June 11, 2015)
A Look-Back at TLV’s Historic LGBTQ Conference (A Wider Bridge / June 18, 2015)
Rainbow Jews Founder Goes to Tel Aviv (Jewish News UK / June 5, 2015)
On International Transgender Day of Visibility (A Wider Bridge / March 31, 2015)
Why Jews Should Observe Transgender Day of Remembrance (Jewish News / November 17, 2014)
LGBTQIQ Jews Under the Rainbow (Jewish News / November 5, 2014)
Stephen Fry saves Rainbow Jews (Pink News / October 14, 2014)
Stephen Fry Tweets Support for Jewish LGBT project (Jewish News UK / October 7, 2014)
In the Image of God (Jewish News / August 19, 2014)
Loud Proud & Jewish (Gay UK / July 17, 2014)
Gay, Jewish and Not Afraid to Say So (Jewish Chronicle / July 10, 2014)
Rainbow Jews launches at London Met Archives (Jewish News / June 10, 2014)
7 Queer Jews to Reckoned With (Ha’aretz / June 10, 2014)
A Western Wall Visit Holds Unique Symbolism (Tablet / March 13, 2014)
LGBT’s Jewish Community Record Their History (The Huffington Post / March 7, 2014)
Rainbow Jews: The Exhibition (RainbowJews.com / January 3, 2014)
UK’s Gay Jews Document Life (Ha’aretz / December 28, 2013)