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Worldwide LGBT+ Jewish Congress in Sydney

Rabbi Aviva Kipen wrote the following report on the LBGT+ World Jewish Congress held in Sydney on 21-24 March, which she attended as a committed ally. Registrants from Australia, NZ, Singapore, Thailand, USA, Israel and Argentina represented Ashkenazi and Sefardi traditions and a range of styles of Jewish observance and gender.

From March 21-24,  Emanuel Synagogue Sydney hosted the 25th International Conference of Keshet Ga’avah http://glbtjews.org the worldwide LGBT+ Jewish Congress, which I attended as a committed ally. 95 registrants currently living in Australia, NZ, Singapore, Thailand, USA, Israel and Argentina represented Ashkenazi and Sefardi traditions and a range of styles of Jewish observance and gender. Adults in their 20’s mixed with seniors in their 70’s, with the youngest participant an 18 year old who spoke of their supportive coming out at the Emanuel School, Sydney. 

UK Rabbi Elli Sarah, a graduate of the Leo Baeck College London and the first out lesbian in the world to lead a mainstream congregation, was the opening keynote speaker, celebrating her 30th anniversary of ordination with delegates. Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio was a panel participant and Prof Kerryn Phelps MP gave an inspiring address that emphasized the role of Emanuel and the leadership of the Moetza in blessing same sex couples, providing commitment ceremonies and officiating for same sex weddings here as soon as Australian law allowed. Rabbi Nicole Roberts attended the GLBT+ Purim Spiel “A Feigele On The Roof”. Abby Stein was an important guest and subsequently went to Melbourne for an event arranged by Pathways.  

Kol hakavod to Emanuel, its rabbis and the rabbis of the movement in our region. We all support the rainbow of members of our diverse communities, wherever they live and resources were shared to enhance our embrace of diversity. A regional chapter of Keshet Ga’avah will emerge if actively supported in AANZ. Mazal Tov the conference committee led by Kim Gotlieb of Australia’s Jewish LGBT+ network Dayenu, Shaliach Dudu Gottlib and many other Sydney supporters, visiting academics and community leaders. Kol Koleinu - All Our Voices, the Worldwide Congress’s volume of contributed articles about the emergence of the Jewish LGBT experience and which provided the title of the 2019 conference, was launched. It can be purchased from the website.

It was a great milestone for a prominent synagogue of our movement to have hosted this international event and extremely heartening to see the broad support of Jewish communal organisations which actively aligned themselves to the conference.

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