Weekly Round-Up: February 17, 2017

Stay up-to-date with our many communities: Here’s what’s been happening this week in the intersecting worlds of Israeli, LGBT and Jewish life!



“Spectrum,” a new hit web series that looks into the lives of 10 transgender people living in Israel, has premiered its first two episodes on the web, and it’s worth watching. A Wider Bridge

In November 2016 A Wider Bridge brought 30 prominent LGBTQ leaders from across the United States to Israel. In this new video you can get a taste of what they did there, and hear what they had to say about how this experience changed their lives. A Wider Bridge

Mary DeBacker decided to join A Wider Bridge’s Mission to Israel in order to educate herself more about the country, following last year’s incident during the A Wider Bridge event at Creating Change conference. Read her reflection on the trip. A Wider Bridge

Jay Geller, Member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College, participated in A Wider Bridge’s 2016 LGBT Mission to Israel. Upon his return, Geller joined the Board of A Wider Bridge. In this new article, he shares his highlights from the trip, which he described in one word, “extraordinary.” A Wider Bridge

Walid Issa, a senior associate at Solomon Strategies Group and a board member of several nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Palestine, finds it extremely troubling that some activists measure his Palestinian pride by his level of support for the BDS movement, and invites people to not only visit Israel, but to tour Palestine as well. The Star Tribune

In rural and peripheral areas in Israel live hundreds of LGBT people who have to cope every day with life outside or inside the closet in less accepting and open surroundings. Erin Toledano-Farajov, a bisexual genderqueer transgender woman, tries to explain life as LGBT on the periphery through her own personal experience. A Wider Bridge


CHICAGO — David Fink, who runs a storytelling show in Chicago, is a congregant of the Loop Synagogue, the one that was vandalized last Shabbat. “It doesn’t matter what we believe. It matters how we act,” he says. A Wider Bridge Chicago

MASSACHUSETTS — Anthony Russell was using a Jewish text to express an African American experience — now, that’s his career. He will soon move to Massachusetts with his husband, a rabbi who was recently invited to lead a synagogue in the city of Acton. The Washington Post

NEW YORK — Moshe Brim writes about enrolling Yeshiva University, or as he puts it, “jumping into what expected to be homophobic shark infested waters.” Ironically, YU was the place where he finally felt able to come out. The Commentator

SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Chertok, president of congregation Sha’ar Zahav, is among congregation members who have offered to open their homes to LGBT refugees. The Bay Area Reporter

TEXAS — San Antonio’s 16th Annual Jewish Film Festival explores history, identity and culture and will screen Israeli LGBT-themed documentaries. San Antonio Current

UNITED KINGDOM — Teachers at a private Orthodox Jewish school in London have instructed students ‘not to communicate in any way’ with daughter of a transgender woman. LGBTQ Nation


The Association for Civil Rights in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice this week as the broadcasting authority refused to overturn its ban on a public service announcement in support of same-sex marriage and speaking Arabic in Israel. Haaretz

Hoshen, the Israeli LGBT Education organization, elected Tamar Yahel as the organization’s new Executive Director. Yahel replaces Yali Ben Ami Vitenberg, who spent three years in office. A Wider Bridge


A new online video the organization Israel Hofsheet (“Be Free Israel”) assists same-sex couples in registering as “known in public” (Israeli equivalent of Domestic Partnership). The movement now offers legal deposition for same-sex couples, and soon will also offer a certificate of cohabitation. A Wider Bridge

Yisroel Stein is no longer an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, married or male. The only American Hasid to come out publicly after gender transitioning, she is now Abby – ambitious student, popular speaker and community activist. Haaretz


Jewish filmmaker Eliza Hittman won the award for Best Director in the US Dramatic Features category at Sundance for the movie “Beach Rats,” and finally shared an enticing teaser online. Gay Times

Imri Ziv, a former backup singer, will represent Israel in the 2017 Eurovision contest in Ukraine. Watch him sing. Ynet


Danielle Solzman, an Orthodox Trans Woman from Kentucky, can never go home again but thankfully she found a community in Chicago that accepts her for the woman that she is. The Forward

Gay philanthropist, historian and writer David Benkof explains why he thinks that AIDS is a gay disease, despite the community’s attempt to claim otherwise throughout the years. The Daily Caller

Lilli Kornblum, a board member at Temple Sholom of Chicago, writes about the choice that we have of whether or not to come to the aid of someone appearing to be in distress, about her desire to do good, and how it relates to the week’s torah portion, Bo. A Wider Bridge Chicago


Liran and Yuval, who lead in 2013 the social campaign to allow gay couples use surrogacy services in Israel, posted a photo with their 1-year-old, titled “playing Shabbat songs on the way back from Day Care”. Shabbat Shalom to you all! Follow Liran on Instagram