Creative Approaches to Researching Religion in the City 1: Embodied Practices and Narratives of Everyday Religion

Tuesday, 3/29/2016 at 12:40 PM. Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

This paper consists of a presentation of elements of a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘Connected Communities’ funded study which explored how LGBTQI Jews experience inclusion/exclusion and re-connection with their faith identity.
“Ritual Reconstructed: Challenges to Disconnection, Division and Exclusion in the Jewish LGBTQI Community” consisted of an exploration of the interplay between faith identity and sexual orientation as mediating or disrupting factors for London and South-East England based Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Jews. The core aim of the 14-month project was to collaborate with members of the LGBTQI Jewish community to explore and address issues of disconnection, exclusion and reconnection with Judaism through ritual performance, film and community engagement activities.
Activities focused on facilitating and co-producing reflections on LGBTQI (re)appropriation of Jewish ritual by engaging with LGBTQI participants, rabbis and theologians throughout a full ritual cycle (year) to explore the ways in which ritual practices are (and become) embedded in spiritual, social and community life with a particular focus on the inter-play between the development of annual, weekly and personal ritual which incorporate LGBTQI and Jewish identity.
The study, based in London utilised a range of creative and innovative methodologies including ‘ritual bricolage’; music; performance; poetry, film and photography to capture the life experiences and faith journeys of LGBTQI Jews as they explored and explained the tensions and integrations of faith and sexual orientation within a religious tradition traditionally perceived of as uncomfortable with non-hetero-normative binaries.


LGBT+; Jewish; Ritual; Community; Faith; Sexuality