New Jersey Synagogue Reaches Out to LGBTQ Community

Congregation B’nai Israel, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Toms River, New Jersey is starting an outreach aimed at attracting gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Jews to the synagogue.

Congregation B’nai Israel is rolling out the welcome mat for the LGBTQ community.

On Sunday, the Conservative Jewish synagogue will host its first Gesher Minyan service, welcoming lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer (and questioning) Jews to worship and meet other members of the synagogue. Gesher means “bridge” in Hebrew, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields said.

“In the Jewish community, in the past, you had to be closeted,” Wolintz-Fields said of LGBTQ Jews. “I want them to feel welcomed, and to feel that they have a place here.”

B’nai Israel member Eva Parpar was a driving force behind the decision to begin an outreach to the LGBTQ community.

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