A Wider Bridge was founded by Arthur Slepian in 2010 to provide opportunities for LGBTQ people in North America to build meaningful relationships with Israel and LGBTQ people in Israel. From its outset, AWB has provided LGBTQ people with the opportunity to engage with Israel in ways that matter to them personally, and to demonstrate that they have a stake in Israel and its future.
In 2009, a masked gunman entered the Bar Noar LGBTQ youth center in Tel Aviv and opened fire, killing two and injuring fifteen. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Israel’s LGBTQ community came together to mourn and to heal, and looked to friends in North America for support.
Founder Arthur Slepian traveled to Israel to meet with community leaders, activists and artists of Israel’s LGBTQ communities.
Arthur reflects on his 2009 visit: “I met with organization leaders, political leaders, radical activists and filmmakers. All these conversations convinced me of the same thing: These are stories that deserve to be told. This is work that deserves to be encouraged and supported. There is so much to be gained from dialogue and collaboration. It shouldn’t take a tragedy of this magnitude for us to learn from, work with, and support one another.”
A Wider Bridge began primarily as an LGBTQ Jewish organization, as founder Arthur Slepian saw a need for LGBTQ Jews to have more opportunities to engage with and connect to Israel and the Jewish community. This need continues, but over time, our work expanded to also provide LGBTQ folks and allies – Jews and non-Jews – with opportunities to connect with Israel’s vibrant LGBTQ community and the Jewish and Democratic State.
Together, we work to advance LGBTQ rights in Israel, while building equality for Israel in North America by cultivating constructive engagement with Israel in LGBTQ spaces.