Today – as we are in Pride month in Israel I’m going to talk to you about the importance of ensuring that LGBT Jewish identities are reflected in discussions of theology and ritual practice to ensure that all Jews are able to see our identities reflected in our cultural heritage and faith. In particular I’m going to tell you about an innovative arts, humanities and theology project running in London, UK and which will also be showcased in Tel Aviv at a venue to be announced. Keep checking Ritual Reconstructed social media outlets to find out when and where.

My name is Margaret Greenfields and I’m a member of Liberal Judaism and Professor of Social Policy at Bucks New University in England. I’m heading up Ritual Reconstructed, a collaborative project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project is a partnership between Liberal Judaism and several universities, supported by the JW3 Jewish Community Centre in London.

We’re working with London-based Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) communities to explore faith rituals which combine both Jewish and LGBTQI identities. It’s also possible for people outside of London (including from Israel) to email us photos, stories, poems, drawings and other materials to go up on the website.

Back in our home base in London we’re working with film, performance, installation and narrative storytelling to look at the ways in which Jewish people who identify as LGBTQI engage in religious and community life as well as focusing on how being LGBTQI has influenced, shaped or changed Jewish faith rituals and in turn, how our Jewish identities have influenced LGBTQI memorialization such as Aids and Transgender Remembrance events. We are also working with Rabbis, philosophers and theologians to enable us to explore the importance of ‘queering’ text and to think about how we can challenging hetero-normative assumptions about what it means to be a ‘good Jew’.

The aim of the project is not only to demonstrate the richness, pride and imagination LGBTQI Jews bring to ritual practice, but also to show the importance of inclusive religious identities. The team are creating a series of films and educational materials for the wider public so that those outside of the community can also learn about Jewish LGBTQI rituals and faith identity. We are going to screen the clips at film and Human Rights festivals, LGBTQI events and at Universities in the UK and overseas. Films can also be viewed on our website.

So: check out our website, get in touch with the team and join in with the discussions about being LGBTQI and Jewish – there’s never such as good time to do it as during Pride!

The project is running from October 2014 to November 2015 and ends with a major showcase event in London.

Margaret Greenfields
Professor of Social Policy and Community Engagement
Bucks New University in England
Director of Ritual Reconstructed.

This article was first published on the TLV1’s website, TLV1 is an English-language internet radio station broadcasting from Tel Aviv, to see this article and more, click here