LGBT Alliance Study A Needs Assessment Of The San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ Jewish Community
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The Jan 2010 LGBT Alliance Study: A Needs Assessment Of The San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ Jewish Community

The Jan 2010 LGBT Alliance Study: A Needs Assessment Of The San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ Jewish Community

Updates to this document can be found here: www.jewishfed.org/community/lgbt

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LGBT Alliance Study A Needs Assessment Of The San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ Jewish Community LGBT Alliance Study A Needs Assessment Of The San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ Jewish Community Document Transcript

  • JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION OF SAN FRANCISCO, THE PENINSULA, MARIN AND SONOMA COUNTIES JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION OF THE GREATER EAST BAY LGBT Alliance Study A NEEDS ASSESSMENT OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA LGBT JEWISH COMMUNITY DR. CARYN AVIV, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH 2010 A study conducted by Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity
  • A STUDY CONDUCTED BY: THIS STUDY MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF: WITH ADDITONAL SUPPORT FROM: Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity published this study in January 2010. The research for this study was conducted by Jewish Mosaic and overseen by the LGBT Alliance Planning and Advisory Group (PAG) of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties between 2008 and 2009. Acknowledgements: Gregg Drinkwater, Ruby Cymrot-Wu, Karen Erlichman, M.S.W., Stephanie Gunkel, Willie Recht, Dr. David Shneer, Dr. Wendy Rosov, Bonnie Feinberg, Lisa Finkelstein, Samuel Strauss, Julie Golde, Karen Bluestone, Rabbi Jim Brandt, Al Baum, Arthur Slepian, Fran Simon, Dr. Bruce Phillips, Dr. Gary Gates, Prof. Steven M. Cohen, Dr. Ari Y. Kelman, Dr. Sherry Israel, Rachel Lanzerotti, Elana Reinin, Dr. Ed Mamary, Dr. Kathy Simon, Julie Frank, Magnet Health Clinic, SF LGBT Community Center, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Progressive Jewish Alliance 2
  • CONTENTS Executive summary ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 What Do Bay Area LGBT Jews Want and Need from the Jewish Community in Terms of Services, Programs, and Inclusion? ................. 7 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 10 1a. Recent Changes in American Jewish Life ................................................................................................................................................... 10 1b.Who Are LGBT Jews? Patterns and Trends from Recent Studies ............................................................................................................. 11 1c. The Bay Area: A Bellwether of LGBT Jewish Identity and Community ....................................................................................................... 11 1d.Goals and Purpose of this Study .................................................................................................................................................................. 12 1e.Core Questions of this Study ........................................................................................................................................................................ 13 2. RESEARCH METHODS ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 14 2a.Recruiting participants .................................................................................................................................................................................. 14 2b.One-on-one Interviews and Focus groups with LGBT Jewish Individuals ................................................................................................... 14 2c. Environmental Scan of Bay Area Jewish Organizations ............................................................................................................................. 15 3. PROJECT DEMOGRAPHICS: LGBT PARTICIPANTS AND BAY AREA JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS ............................................................ 16 3a.Demographics and Key Characteristics of LGBT Jewish Respondents in this study .................................................................................. 16 3b. Demographics of the Organizational Survey ............................................................................................................................................... 18 3c. Limitations of the study: People and Organizations ................................................................................................................................... 19 4. What is meaningful to LGBT Jews in terms of their Jewish identities? .............................................................................................................. 20 4a. Multiple identities: LGBT and Jewish .......................................................................................................................................................... 20 4b. Homophobia and Transphobia .................................................................................................................................................................... 20 4c. Single and Jewish ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 22 4d.Partnered in Interfaith Relationships ............................................................................................................................................................ 23 4e.Partnered with Other LGBT Jews ................................................................................................................................................................. 24 4f. LGBT, Jewish, and Parenting ....................................................................................................................................................................... 24 4g.Coming to Judaism by choice as an LGBT person ...................................................................................................................................... 25 4h.Transgender Jews ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 25 4i.Secular and Culturally Jewish........................................................................................................................................................................ 26 4j. Growing Older as an LGBT Jew ................................................................................................................................................................... 27 4k.The Intersection of Israel and LGBT Identities ............................................................................................................................................. 28 5. HOW DO LGBT Jews currently interact – or DO not – with the organized Jewish community? ........................................................................ 31 3
  • 5a.Young and single .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 31 5b.Gender matters ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 32 5c. Synagogue engagement.............................................................................................................................................................................. 33 5D. Synagogue engagement: Congregation Sha'ar Zahav ............................................................................................................................... 34 5E. Geographic and transportation barriers ...................................................................................................................................................... 36 6. What DO Bay Area LGBT Jews want and need from the Jewish community in terms of services, programs, and inclusion?.......................... 37 6a.Regionally and demographically targeted programming .............................................................................................................................. 37 6b.More identifiable pathways to involvement and leadership .......................................................................................................................... 38 7. WHAT DO existing LGBT outreach and inclusion efforts in the Bay Area Jewish community LOOK LIKE? ..................................................... 39 7a. LGBT staff and board members .................................................................................................................................................................. 39 7b. LGBT People as Constituents and Members .............................................................................................................................................. 40 7c.Fully inclusive language?.............................................................................................................................................................................. 40 7d. LGBT-Targeted Programs ........................................................................................................................................................................... 41 7e.How LGBT-Inclusive are Bay Area Congregations? .................................................................................................................................... 44 7f. DISCUSSION: Where Are Bay Area Jewish Organizations On the Spectrum of Inclusion? ....................................................................... 45 8. WHAT ARE THE gaps in services and outreach to LGBT Jews and their families? .......................................................................................... 47 8a. Building Organizational Capacity ................................................................................................................................................................ 47 8b. What programs and services might be offered to LGBT Jews, based on their suggestions?..................................................................... 48 8c.More identifiable pathways to involvement and leadership .......................................................................................................................... 49 9. DISCUSSION: Safe Space and Transformative Integration AS Two POLICY Approaches ............................................................................. 50 10. Policy Implications, Lessons learned, and directions for future research ......................................................................................................... 51 11. Conclusions ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 53 Bibliography ............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 54 Research Appendices ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 56 Appendix A: Where Respondents Heard About/Saw the Study ....................................................................................................................... 56 Appendix B: Recruiting a Diverse Sample of LGBT Jewish Individuals ........................................................................................................... 57 Appendix C: Interview Guide ............................................................................................................................................................................ 58 Appendix D: Focus group guiding questions ..................................................................................................................................................... 60 Appendix E: Online survey to Bay Area Jewish Organizations ........................................................................................................................ 61 Appendix F: Organizational Typology from Jewish Mosaic’s Study “We Are You: An Exploration of LGBT Issues in Colorado’s Jewish Community“ ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 65 4
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Bay Area is home to one of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in the United States. In the most recent Bay Area Jewish Community Study, the Jewish population had doubled to nearly 228,000 since 1986, making it the third largest metropolitan Jewish community in the US (Phillips 2005). In that study, LGBT households comprised 8% of the Bay Area study’s population and were dispersed over the Federation’s service area. In light of the changing demographics of their local Jewish communities, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, and the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay recognized the need for a better understanding of Bay Area LGBT Jews, in order to most effectively meet the needs of this emerging and important population. This Bay Area Jewish LGBT Needs Assessment Executive Summary documents: the project’s research methods and planning process; LGBT Jewish participant demographics; major themes derived from the core questions of this study; an analysis of gaps in currently offered programs and services; policy implications that emerge from the research; some conclusions about the Bay Area LGBT Jewish community in relation to wider trends in Jewish communities across the United States. CORE RESEARCH QUESTIONS The central research questions that informed this study were to gain a more nuanced understanding of: What is meaningful to LGBT Jews in terms of their Jewish identities; The ways in which LGBT Jews currently interact – or not – with the organized Jewish community; What LGBT Jews want and need from the Jewish community in terms of services, programs, and inclusion. Additionally, the study sought to gather information about Jewish organizations regarding LGBT-outreach and inclusion efforts, including LGBT-related programs, policies, and practices in the Bay Area Jewish community. RESEARCH METHODS This study used one-on-one interviews and focus groups with a diverse sample of 100 LGBT Jews. For interviews and focus groups, Jewish Mosaic developed a diversity matrix, using previous community studies and Census data, to select a broad and diverse sample of participants. Jewish Mosaic also developed an online survey, sent to 221 Bay Area Jewish communal organizations, which gathered information about LGBT Jewish programs, policies, services, staff, and lay leadership. 125 agencies completed the survey. 79 of those agencies were classified as general Jewish organizations and 46 were synagogues. 45 general agencies and 51 congregations did not respond to the survey. WHAT IS MEANINGFUL TO LGBT JEWS IN TERMS OF THEIR JEWISH IDENTITIES? 5
  • LGBT and Jewish: There is no singular LGBT Jewish community in the Bay Area. LGBT Jews describe having complex identities and a sense of allegiance to several communities. For some respondents, being LGBT is primary, which influences their investment of time, energy, and money. Some LGBT Jews feel equally passionate about being both LGBT and Jewish, and participate in the Bay Area Jewish community through cultural events, synagogue engagement, political activism, and lay leadership. For some LGBT Jews in this study, being Jewish is not important, and they do not necessarily feel a strong need to participate in the organized Jewish community. Homophobia and Transphobia: LGBT Jews do not report significant levels of homophobia or transphobia in the Jewish community. Homophobia and transphobia do not seem to pose significant barriers that prevent interest or involvement in the Jewish community. This is possibly a reflection the general openness of the Bay Area. Dating, partnering, and forming families: Single LGBT Jews cite the limitations of the Jewish LGBT dating pool as influencing their choices. Finding a partner is important, but the Jewishness of a potential partner is less important for younger LGBT Jews than compatible values and shared life goals. LGBT Jews who are coupled are 1/3 more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be in interfaith couples, and some non-Jewish partners participate in Jewish activities, rituals, and community events. Interfaith couples workshops offered by Jewish organizations do not target the unique needs/issues of LGBT couples. Lesbians 40 and older are more likely to be partnered with other Jewish and cite that shared identity as very meaningful to them. Lesbian couples are far more likely to have children compared to gay men, and they invest in the organized Jewish community through synagogue engagement and their children’s Jewish education. Jewish LGBT parents raising children want more opportunities to meet other Jewish LGBT parents. Secular and Cultural Jews: Many of the LGBT Jews who identify as secular or cultural Jews say they don’t need or want anything from the organized Jewish community. While they might be interested in intellectual or cultural programming with LGBT-related content that brings LGBT Jews together, they are not interested in programs that are connected to Judaism as a religion or Jewish ritual. The Intersection of Israel and LGBT Identities: The strongest support of and connection to Israel was expressed by LGBT Jews over 50 (especially those with memories/family links to the Holocaust), and by younger LGBT Jews who had high levels of Jewish engagement growing up and/or had visited Israel on a teen trip. Few LGBT Jews in this study reported participating in Israel-related programs, events or activities in the Bay Area Jewish community. When asked about their feelings regarding Israel, the majority of respondents said they felt detached from Israel and that it didn’t play a significant role in their lives. HOW DO LGBT JEWS CURRENTLY INTERACT – OR DO NOT – WITH THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY? Younger LGBT Jews: Younger LGBT Jews in this study are much more likely to be reading Jewish books, attending LGBT or Jewish films at film festivals, participating in a Passover seder, or getting involved in progressive politics. Having a strong Jewish identity does not necessarily translate into mainstream Jewish community engagement. Gender Matters: Overall, Jewish lesbians in this study tend to be more highly engaged Jewishly than gay men, across all age cohorts and in every Federation Service Area. Jewish lesbians participate through professional commitments and lay leadership. The few Jewish transgender respondents are engaged to some degree, but want the Jewish community to move forward on transgender awareness and inclusion. Synagogue Engagement: 44 LGBT Jews in this study belong to synagogues, but fewer in San Francisco compared to other counties. Older LGBT Jews, particularly lesbians, are more likely to belong to synagogues than younger 6
  • LGBT Jews. Many younger LGBT Jews ‘shop around’ at various congregations or occasionally ‘drop in’ to services (particularly around the High Holidays) without committing to paying membership dues. Perceptions of Barriers and Challenges: Many LGBT Jews in the study perceive that Jewish organizations that offer LGBT programming lump everyone together regardless of demographic, geographic, or personal diversity. LGBT Jews outside of San Francisco are aware of SF-based programs but cite traffic, access, time, and distance as key barriers to participation. These LGBT Jews would consider participation in more programs, events, and activities if they were local, affordable, fun, and relevant. Few Jewish organizations advertise their events in secular LGBT press, and sometimes LGBT Jews don’t know where to find information about LGBT-related programs. WHAT DO BAY AREA LGBT JEWS WANT AND NEED FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN TERMS OF SERVICES, PROGRAMS, AND INCLUSION? Regionally and Demographically Targeted Programming: LGBT programming based on a "one size fits all" model does not meet some LGBT Jews’ needs. There is a preference for more demographically targeted programming that is local, convenient, and easily accessible. LGBT Jews want to see more specific marketing that identifies what kind of LGBT Jews the programs are aiming to attract. More Identifiable Pathways to Involvement and Leadership: Some LGBT Jews in the Bay Area want to be involved in LGBT Jewish communal leadership, but they don’t know where, how, or through what venues. Many LGBT Jews (across the spectrum of Jewish engagement) cited their participation in this study as a way of engaging with the Jewish community. Senior Options for LGBT Jews: Older LGBT Jews are concerned about the ability of the Jewish community to meet their needs, as aging Jews AND as LGBT people. They want affordable options for Jewish senior housing that will be respectful and inclusive, and are worried about the stability of their financial futures. WHERE DO JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS STAND IN TERMS OF LGBT INCLUSION? The majority of the Bay Area's Jewish organizations are at least open to welcoming of LGBT people. But only a minority could be characterized as pro-actively and systematically inclusive in terms of the policies, practices, and programs that signal greater LGBT participation. Those organizations that are not currently pro-actively welcoming have little to lose and much to gain, in terms of potential constituents, visibility, and community goodwill, by making the transition to full inclusion. LGBT Staff, Board Members, Clients and Members in the Bay Area A majority of general Jewish organizations and congregations have LGBT people on staff. A majority of Bay Area agencies have LGBT board members. 28 general Jewish organizations and 7 congregations have made specific efforts to recruit LGBT board members. 45 general Jewish organizations (not congregations) have more than 5% LGBT members. 4 agencies report more than 30% LGBT clients or members. LGBT-Inclusive Language 27 out of 125 agencies use the words "gay and lesbian" and 12 use the words "gender identity." 7
  • Those agencies that DID report using inclusive language and inclusive non-discrimination statements also reported higher rates of LGBT members. LGBT Inclusion in Bay Area Congregations 51 out of 97 synagogues did not respond to the study. 11 out of 46 responding congregations offer programs or events targeting LGBT constituents. 22 out of 46 synagogues reported fewer than 5% LGBT members, and 8 synagogues reported more than 10% of their members were LGBT. LGBT Jews who seek out participation in synagogue life are most likely clustering in congregations that are already known for being relatively welcoming and diverse. WHAT DO JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS OFFER IN TERMS OF LGBT PROGRAMS? Thirty one general Jewish agencies across the Bay Area reported offering LGBT programs or events. Agencies in the East and West Bay tend to offer more LGBT-related programs compared to the North and South Bay, particularly in terms of cultural and educational programs. South Bay agencies reported offering the fewest programs in the areas of cultural events, family programs, social action, and lifecycle rituals. Cultural events related to LGBT issues or people are the most commonly reported types of programs, followed by educational programs. Lifecycle rituals are the least commonly reported type of programs. Agencies with more than 5% LGBT members are TWICE AS LIKELY to offer targeted programs. Five Jewish agencies have discontinued LGBT-related programs in the past 5 years, for various reasons, including: a lack of client interest/need; lack of funding; no staff with appropriate skill set or knowledge to plan/implement programs; and a shift in organizational mission or priorities. WHAT ARE THE GAPS IN SERVICES AND OUTREACH TO LGBT JEWS AND THEIR FAMILIES? Building Organizational Capacity: Respondents from Jewish organizations want and need help with resources (i.e., funding), training, marketing and outreach, and program development. They also want to ramp up their capacity to signal to LGBT Jews (through a variety of channels) that they are welcoming, inclusive, and want LGBT Jews to walk through their doors. What Might Be Offered? Regionally-based programming for targeted LGBT sub-populations, organizationally- based programming, and online resources. Regionally based programming might identify a specific group to offer programming where there is currently none. Organizationally-based programming could offer a range of LGBT- thematic programs and events to a wide variety of people. Several LGBT respondents didn’t know where a ‘central address’ was located that offered comprehensive Jewish LGBT-related information, referrals, and resource materials online. More Identifiable Pathways to Involvement and Leadership: Some LGBT Jews in this study want to get involved in the Jewish community, but are not sure where to turn, which organizations they might choose, and how they might contribute. POLICY IMPLICATIONS The following policy implications are elaborated on in the full report with several concrete suggestions for each subtopic. However, the key areas to consider for strategic policy planning are: 8
  • Acknowledge the diversity of identities and needs among LGBT Jews Support community-wide programming that reaches every Federation Service Area Provide comprehensive support for Bay Area Jewish organizations to become fully LGBT-inclusive CONCLUSIONS LGBT Jews are highly diverse in terms of age, gender, geography, identities, interests, social networks, and commitments. Many study respondents are already deeply engaged in Bay Area Jewish life and have helped to transform Jewish organizations from within as staff, board members and clients or members. For other LGBT Jews, a lack of engagement with Jewish community does not mean lack of deep Jewish identity. LGBT Jews want to, and often do, incorporate aspects of their Jewish identities and Jewish culture into their lives, outside and beyond synagogue life, and they want more identifiable pathways to involvement and leadership opportunities. The factors encouraging Jewish engagement (or not) mirror recent data about other subpopulations with the Jewish world, but LGBT Jews express these factors to a more pronounced degree. The respondents in this study suggest that some, but by no means all, LGBT Jews in the Bay Area have largely moved beyond the particulars of their sexual and gender identities as key ways to express being Jewish. Given how this population mirrors national trends but at higher levels, the trends and issues surfaced by LGBT Jews might be considered the bellwether of Jewish life in the United States. 9
  • 1. INTRODUCTION “Over and over again for 350 years one finds that Jews in America rose to meet the challenges both internal and external that threaten Jewish continuity – sometimes, paradoxically, by promoting radical discontinuity. Casting aside old paradigms, they transformed their faith, reinventing American Judaism in an attempt to make it more appealing, more meaningful, more sensitive to the concerns of the day.” Jonathan Sarna, 2004 “Judaism is precious, but not fragile. As a group, Jews have survived…exile, destruction, persecution, and near annihilation…..Torah (has) survived, Judaism (has) survived, and Jews were sustained. Innovation will continue.” Vanessa Ochs, 2007 1A. RECENT CHANGES IN AMERICAN JEWISH LIFE Within a few short decades, American Jews have changed dramatically in how they identify and act as Jews. What it means to be Jewish in the 21st century looks vastly different than what it did even fifty years ago. In the past, the perceived fear and actual experiences of anti-Semitism posed barriers to the full integration of American Jews in public life, and created strong group identity and cohesion in the Jewish community. Few American Jewish women held communal positions of leadership and power. Interfaith relationships were emerging as an issue, but were not as prevalent a trend among American Jews. The visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people was minimal in the organized Jewish community. The consensus about, and support for Israel was broad, deep, and an important pillar of Jewish identity. Things look quite different now. Today, surveys suggest that approximately 15% of all Americans harbor anti- Semitic views (ADL 2007), which is a marked decrease from fifty years ago, although the important work of confronting anti-Semitism remains. Today, Jewish women aspire to and hold positions of power in almost every domain of the Jewish communal world (Bronznick, Goldenhar and Linsky 2008). Today, interfaith relationships are increasingly one norm among several regarding relationship patterns among American Jews (Cohen 2005). LGBT Jewish people are visible in almost every corner of the Jewish world, including the rabbinate and in positions of institutional and national leadership (Alpert, Elwell, and Idelson 2001). The perceptions, feelings, support for, and consensus around Israel have become complex and vary widely within and across Diaspora Jewish communities (Ben-Moshe and Segev 2007). Over the past two generations, American Jewish life has changed in fundamental and profound ways. With these shifts and changes, American Jews increasingly choose whether, how, and why they want to participate in any organized Jewish life. The ‘traditional’ ways of identifying, measuring, and counting how Jews participate in Jewish life (such as marrying other Jews, joining synagogues, and religious observance) are declining. Noted scholars of American Jewish life have observed a shift in ‘doing and being Jewish’ – away from affiliating with traditional Jewish institutions such as Jewish community centers, Jewish federations, and synagogues, and more towards personal and spiritual expressions of Jewishness (Cohen and Eisen 2000, Cohen and Hoffman 2009). American Jews of all ages have gravitated towards and created their own unique forms of Jewish identity and community, and a host of cutting-edge, innovative organizations have emerged in response to those trends (Ochs 2007, Slingshot 2008). Loosely organized havurot, do-it-yourself Jewish intellectual salons, online journals of Jewish thought and culture, activist networks, and other forms of Jewish expression that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago have sprung up in response to, an in conversation with, changes in American life. New internet media (email, social networking, blogs, and downloadable music sites) have blurred traditional borders and democratized how people define, understand and negotiate the world at large. These changes have had a 10
  • significant impact on the Jewish world in particular, by changing how Jews find each other to create community, how they mobilize for Jewish issues, events, and ideas, and how they communicate their ideas about Jewishness to the wider world (Reboot 2007). With this turn towards new and innovative expressions of Jewish identities, the academic study of Jewish identities has borrowed theoretical frameworks and methods from cultural anthropology and social psychology to better understand not just what Jews do, but how American Jews make meaning in their lives (Barack Fishman 2004, Sales and Saxe 2003). What it means to be Jewish varies widely across a diverse spectrum of practice, politics, levels of observance, and meaning – from cultural and secular Jewish affinities with little connection to Jewish organizations, to deeply religious convictions and professional lives devoted to Jewish communal service. 1B.WHO ARE LGBT JEWS? PATTERNS AND TRENDS FROM RECENT STUDIES Given these rapid changes and shifts in American Jewish life, the analysis of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jewish identities and needs has emerged as a new focus in the field of Jewish communal research and policy planning. Three recent studies, two national (Cohen, Aviv and Kelman 2009, Aviv and Cohen 2009) and one local (Phillips: conducted in 2004, published in 2005), help to shed light on some basic information about LGBT Jews. Some of those demographic trends dovetail and reinforce important demographics, patterns, and policy implications discussed in this report. Two important caveats: one national study (Cohen, Aviv and Kelman 2009) only included lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents (no transgender respondents). The local Bay Area study (which did not include the East or South Bay) simply collected information among all LGBT respondents. It did not break out any demographic data by gender among participants within that LGBT sample. Here is what we do know about LGBT Jews based on recent research: Nationally, among lesbian, gay, and bisexual Jews, 31% are coupled with a partner, but only 11% of LGB Jews live with a Jewish spouse or partner. Among LGB Jews in coupled relationships, non-Jewish partners outnumber Jewish partners by a three-to-one ratio. In other words, LGB Jews are much more likely to create long-term partnerships with spouses who are not Jewish. Nationally, only 9% of LGB Jews report that they have children living with them in the home, and in the Bay Area, 11% of LGBT households have children living in the home. Most important, there are more single parents with children than couples with children among these households. These figures do not reflect adult children of LGBT Jews who have moved away from home. Nationally, LGB Jews are less likely to be members of congregations (39% for straight Jews versus 16% LGB Jews); attend JCC programs during the previous year (30% versus 18%); contribute to a UJA/federation campaign (37 versus 16%); or volunteer for a Jewish organization (27% versus 10%). Nationally, only 6% of LGB Jews report that most of their friends are Jewish. Nationally, LGB Jews feel less attached and more alienated from Israel compared to heterosexual Jews, and 37% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Jews in the national sample have visited Israel, compared to 42% of heterosexual Jews. In the Bay Area, two-thirds of the LGBT households are headed by a single person, split evenly between young (under age 40) singles and older (age 40+) singles. 1C. THE BAY AREA: A BELLWETHER OF LGBT JEWISH IDENTITY AND COMMUNITY The Bay Area is home to one of the largest, most diverse, and innovative Jewish communities in the United States. What happens in the Bay Area often serves as a window into trends and issues that will face other Jewish communities across the country. In the most recent Bay Area Jewish Community Study (which did not include the 11
  • East Bay or the South Bay), the Jewish population had doubled to nearly 228,000 since 1986, making it the third largest metropolitan Jewish community in the US (Phillips 2005). What emerged from that important study was the recognition that two populations – Russian-speaking Jews from the former Soviet Union and LGBT Jews - had emerged as underserved and significant Jewish communities within the larger Bay Area region. In that study, LGBT households comprised 8% of the study’s population and were dispersed over the Federation’s service area. Émigrés from the former Soviet Union also accounted for 8% of all Jewish households, and were particularly concentrated in San Francisco and the Peninsula. However, many questions particular to the LGBT population were raised in that study, but not addressed because of the study’s design and methods. This LGBT Needs Assessment study builds on the 2005 study’s foundation, and deepens our understanding about the particular needs, issues, and concerns of the LGBT population that emerged from those 2005 study results. In light of the changing demographics of their local Jewish communities, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, and the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay recognized the need for a better understanding of Bay Area LGBT Jews, in order to most effectively meet the needs of this emerging and important population. 1D.GOALS AND PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY The LGBT Alliance began in 1996 as the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Over the next decade LGBT Jewish lay leaders worked with the Alliance on leadership development, raising donations and hosting events. In 2007, in alignment with JCF’s adoption of a new Strategic Funding Initiative, the LGBT Alliance transitioned from the Campaign Department into the Federation’s Planning and Agency Support Department. Today, the Alliance’s focus is on organizing and building a visible, vocal, and vibrant LGBT Jewish community. The LGBT Alliance is now a partnership between the two Federations. To approach planning and grant advocacy, leadership development and community outreach, the Jewish Community Federation’s LGBT Alliance of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (SFJCF) formed the LGBT Planning and Advisory Group in direct partnership with the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay (JFED). The LGBT Alliance opted to pursue a strategic planning process at this point in time because the LGBT Alliance’s current strategic plan preceded the 2005 study and was developed when the Alliance resided within the San Francisco Federation’s Campaign Department. Now positioned within the Planning and Agency Support department, the LGBT Alliance must develop a plan that is data driven and that sets clear priorities for allocation of community resources. In addition, when combining the 2005 study’s 8% of LGBT Jews with estimates from the East Bay, we approximate that the Jewish LGBT population represents over 36,000 individuals. Although the 2004 Jewish Community Study shed light on the basic demographics of the LGBT Jewish community, it was not designed to delve deeper into the needs of LGBT Jews and the current provision of services. Any good planning process ought to start with an assessment of the needs of the population for whom the planning is being done. The LGBT Alliance selected Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity to conduct the study because Jewish Mosaic is the premier national organization devoted to visibility, advocacy, education and research for the Jewish community regarding LGBT issues, concerns and needs. To date, Jewish Mosaic has completed five local and national community assessments. They are currently involved with several other community-based research projects and have plans for others within the coming year. The roster of experts Jewish Mosaic brought to the table for this study includes a “Who’s Who” of Jewish communal and LGBT 12
  • researchers, reflecting many decades of combined experience. Jewish Mosaic has the content and context background to make well-informed action-based recommendations based on the data gathered. In May 2008, the Bay Area Jewish LGBT Needs Assessment was commissioned by the two Federations to assist the LGBT Alliance in strategic planning and recommendations for allocation of resources. Jewish Mosaic was tasked with conducting the research in collaboration with the executive and lay leadership of both Federations, including the LGBT Alliance’s Planning and Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG is a group of Jewish lay leaders from across the Bay Area bringing a wide range of perspectives and experiences within LGBT communities. Group members represent: All of the geographic regions or counties of the Bay Area Volunteer and professional leadership from Jewish Community Federations on both sides of the bay A wide range of Jewish LGBT constituencies Rabbinic Leaders in our community Dr. Wendy Rosov has served as the community liaison during this research project, and is facilitating the strategic planning process of the LGBT Alliance. This report documents: the project’s research methods and planning process; LGBT Jewish participant demographics; major themes derived from the core questions of this study; an analysis of gaps in currently offered programs and services; policy implications that emerge from the research; significant conclusions about the Bay Area LGBT Jewish community in relation to wider trends in Jewish communities across the United States. 1E.CORE QUESTIONS OF THIS STUDY The Jewish Federations developed some core questions of this study to assist with strategic planning efforts. The central research questions that informed this study were to gain a more nuanced understanding of: What is meaningful to LGBT Jews in terms of their Jewish identities; The ways in which LGBT Jews currently interact – or not – with the organized Jewish community; What LGBT Jews want and need from the Jewish community in terms of services, programs, and inclusion. Additionally, the study sought to gather information about Jewish organizations regarding LGBT-outreach and inclusion efforts, including LGBT-related programs, policies, and practices in the Bay Area Jewish community. The core goal of collecting this information was to provide a portrait of what currently exists, where there might be gaps in services, and to identify possible opportunities for organizational outreach to LGBT Jews and their families. 13
  • 2. RESEARCH METHODS Jewish Mosaic and the two Federations engaged in a six month planning process (from May to November 2008) to identify the core foci and methods of this study. Key stakeholders who participated in this framing and planning process included: Federation executive leadership, LGBT Alliance staff and lay leaders (including the members of the Planning and Advisory Group), Jewish Mosaic staff, strategic planning consultant Dr. Wendy Rosov, and respected Jewish community researchers across the United States. The purpose of this planning process was to identify the most important goals and emphases of the study, the results of which would inform the critical stage of strategic planning and asset allocation for the LGBT Alliance. Additionally, Jewish Mosaic worked closely with Dr. Rosov on the development of interview and focus group protocols, and the online survey of Jewish organizations, to efficaciously hone in on key questions and information requested by the two participating Federations. This needs assessment used three methods to meet the study’s goals: one-on-one interviews with a diverse sample of LGBT Jews, facilitated focus groups with LGBT Jews, and an online survey, aimed at Bay Area Jewish communal organizations that gathered information about LGBT Jewish programs, policies, services, staff, and lay leadership. 2A.RECRUITING PARTICIPANTS This study strategically employed social networks, internet technology, and printed posters/flyers to recruit a diverse and broad respondent pool. Additionally, members of the LGBT Alliance’s Planning and Advisory Group played a critical role by serving as the study’s ambassadors in the wider LGBT community. A graphically engaging PDF flyer advertising the study was distributed in print as well as to 23 email listservs in the greater Bay Area. These listservs included those ‘owned’ by Jewish LGBT organizations, mainstream Jewish agencies, secular LGBT groups, university-based student groups, synagogues, professional networking associations, social justice activist networks, and informal Jewish and LGBT activity and event groups. Additionally, Jewish Mosaic directly sent email requests to over 100 LGBT individuals (Jewish and non-Jewish), to ask that they forward the PDF flyer widely to their friends through online social-networking sites such as Facebook. Initial study respondents were encouraged to forward information about the study within their personal social networks, allowing for "respondent driven sampling" to bring in new respondents, thus ensuring that a significant percentage of the overall respondents were derived through "viral" social networks and not through usual channels of Jewish organizations or mailing lists. (See Appendix A for breakdown of where respondents heard about the study.) 2B.ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS AND FOCUS GROUPS WITH LGBT JEWISH INDIVIDUALS Five Jewish Mosaic researchers conducted one-on-one interviews with 79 LGBT Jewish individuals in all of the Federation Service Areas (FSA) of San Francisco and the Greater East Bay: San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Sonoma, Marin, and Alameda counties, as well as LGBT Jews living in both the northern and southern halves of Santa Clara County, some of whom straddle the FSA boundary between the San Francisco Federation and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley (per a request from the LGBT Alliance’s Planning and Advisory Group to focus closely on LGBT Jews in the Peninsula). Jewish Mosaic used a diversity matrix of key demographic variables (including age, gender, geography, and level of Jewish engagement, among others) to select participants from the overall pool of respondents who expressed interest in the study. The goal was to create as diverse a respondent pool as possible that would adequately reflect the diversity of the Bay Area LGBT Jewish 14
  • community (see Appendices regarding how the diversity matrix was constructed from several existing population 1 databases). The one-on-one interviews consisted of three key topical domains (Jewish background experiences, coming out and identity, engagement with the Bay Area Jewish Community and Israel). Interviews generally lasted between 45-60 minutes, were tape-recorded, transcribed, and coded by themes for analysis. (See Appendices for interview guide.) Jewish Mosaic also conducted four focus groups with a total of 21 participants from December 2008 through March 2009. Three focus groups were conducted in San Francisco, one in the East Bay, and all focus groups met in ‘Jewishly neutral’ spaces (i.e., not in synagogues or Federation buildings), in order to ensure maximum comfort levels for those LGBT Jewish individuals who might not have (or want) any engagement with the organized Jewish community, as well as to protect confidentiality. The focus group format echoed the one-on-one interview protocol, asking participants to describe their ways of connecting to Jews and Jewish community, their relationships to and feelings about Israel, and their ideas for how the Bay Area Jewish community might better serve their needs. (See Appendices for focus group guiding questions.) 2C. ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN OF BAY AREA JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS In January 2009, an online survey was sent to the executive leadership of 221 Bay Area Jewish communal organizations. The goals of the online survey were two-fold: first, to provide a comprehensive understanding of what Jewish organizations currently provide in terms of LGBT-related programs services, staffing, and lay leadership; and second, to identify any potential gaps in currently offered services, programs, staffing, and lay leadership that might be addressed by Federation strategic planning and allocation processes. This short survey, consisting of 15 questions, asked respondents to identify and describe their organization’s ‘profile’ regarding LGBT-related practices, policies, programs, staff, and boards, as well as opportunities for follow-up comments about their organizations. Per guidance from the Planning and Advisory Group, the survey did not include any follow-up contact or interviews with participating respondents to collect further detailed information about LGBT-related program provision or organizational policies. The invitation to participate in the online survey was followed up with several reminder emails and phone calls by Jewish Mosaic and Federation staff, to insure the highest possible rate of organizational participation. Ultimately, 125 agencies - 57% of the region's Jewish organizations - responded to the survey. (See Appendices for online survey questions.) 1 We received 147 inquiries from individuals who expressed interest in the study, from which our 100 participants were chosen. 15
  • 3. PROJECT DEMOGRAPHICS: LGBT PARTICIPANTS AND BAY AREA JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS 3A.DEMOGRAPHICS AND KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF LGBT JEWISH RESPONDENTS IN THIS STUDY The majority of respondents (56%) are between the ages of 40-64. The majority of respondents live in San Francisco (45%), followed by Alameda County (22%) and the Peninsula (19%). The vast majority of respondents do not have children in their homes (only 22 reported having children of any age, including adult children living outside the home), and lesbians are much more likely to have children in the home compared to gay men. Many respondents do not belong to synagogues, but synagogue membership rates were much higher than for LGBT Jews nationally. Of the 44 respondents that reported belonging to synagogues, those LGBT Jews identify primarily as Reform, Renewal or Conservative (in that order). Only one respondent in the study identified denominationally as Modern Orthodox Half the respondents are partnered or married, with interfaith relationships the norm among partnered respondents. Age Distribution of Respondents 7%5% 18-24 25-39 33% 55% 40-64 65+ Gender Distribution of Respondents gay, bisexual or 9% queer man 34% lesbian, 57% bisexual or queer woman 16
  • Geographic Distribution of Respondents 4% 4% San Francisco 6% Alameda 19% Peninsula 45% Sonoma 22% Marin Contra Costa Levels of Jewish Engagement of Respondents heavily engaged 22% 31% moderately engaged minimally 24% 23% engaged unengaged The study’s key variables, as requested by the LGBT Alliance’s Planning and Advisory Group, were gender, age, geography and level of Jewish engagement. For the breakdown by gender, the research team purposely over-represented transgender and genderqueer Jews, responding to the interest of the PAG for attention to this particular sub-population. Of note: along the genderqueer spectrum, the majority of participants who identified as transgender were female-to-male (FTM). The gender breakdown of respondents was 34% men, 57% women and 9% transgender/genderqueer, almost exactly mirroring the target distributions for the region’s LGBT Jewish population, based on our analysis of existing demographic data. For the variable of age, our target goals were to have 5% of the sample aged 18-24, 44% aged 25-39, 49% aged 40-64 and 2% aged 65 and up. Our actual respondent pool was precisely 5% in the 18-24 category, but slightly oversampled the 40-64 and 65+ cohorts, thus causing a slight undercount for the 25-39 cohort. Our geographic targets were for 48% from San Francisco, 31% from the East Bay, 10% North Bay, and 11% Peninsula. We came quite close on all geographic targets, but purposely over-represented the Peninsula in response to requests from the Planning and Advisory Group who hoped to gain as much insight as possible from this relatively underserved and little understood sub-population within the region’s Jewish and LGBT communities. We broke Jewish engagement down into four categories: unengaged, minimally engaged, moderately engaged and highly engaged. We knew that finding minimally-engaged and unengaged Jews willing to be part of a study on Jewish identity would be challenging. The research team was able to draw nearly half the sample pool from 17
  • among relatively unengaged Jews. Our targets were for a sample pool with 42% minimally engaged and 33% unengaged, and our actual pool was 24% minimally engaged and 22% unengaged, thus over-representing the moderately- and highly-engaged. Other variables of note were an expectation of roughly 1 in 10 Jews by Choice (reflective of the 12% found in the 2005 Federation study). Our sample pool contained eight Jews by Choice. In household income, we expected relatively even distribution across all categories, from those earning under $25,000 per year to those earning $100,000 and up. Our actual respondent pool was heavily weighted toward the range of $25,000-74,999 income bracket, with 42 respondents in that cohort. 3B. DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL SURVEY To gauge the extent and types of LGBT inclusion in Bay Area Jewish organizations, Jewish Mosaic sent an online survey to 221 Bay Area Jewish organizations. 57% (n=125) of those agencies completed the survey. Of those 125 Jewish agencies, 79 were classified as general Jewish organizations, providing a range of programs and services to diverse constituencies. The remaining 46 responding organizations were synagogues, congregations, and spiritual communities. We did not ask for denominational affiliation, but the mailing list of 97 congregations was comprehensive and included nearly every congregation in the region, across all Jewish movements, including unaffiliated and independent communities. As can be seen in the table below, just under half of the region’s congregations responded, and participation rates wavered between 40-100% for all but four categories. Type of Agency (Self-Reported) Number who responded Total in region Synagogue/religious/spiritual community 46 97 Day school education 10 11 Jewish Community Center 10 10 Supplemental and congregational Jewish education (including congregational pre- 8 23 schools) Hillel or campus-based education 8 8 Health and human services (including family and parenting services, senior services, counseling, spiritual care, hospice, immigrant assistance/acculturation, vocational or 8 14 employment services) Culture and arts (including theaters, museums, film festivals) 6 11 Community relations/political advocacy 4 7 Youth engagement 3 7 Jewish camping (including day camps) 2 8 Interfaith outreach 2 4 Israel-related programming and/or advocacy 2 8 Jewish adult education 1 4 Other (including Federations)2 15 9 Total 125 221 Organizational survey respondents by Federation Service Area: the chart below identifies where the organizational survey respondents are located and which areas they report to serve their members/clients. Please note that respondents could check off as many regions as applied, many Jewish agencies serve more than one 2 Jewish Mosaic coded organizations according to the schema in the table prior to emailing the survey. Respondents were asked to label their organizations as they saw fit. We surmise that some of the respondents of organizations we coded as specific types (community relations, or supplemental Jewish education for example) coded themselves as “Other,” thus creating a slight discrepancy between types labeled, and types reported, in this table. 18
  • specific region. However, what is clear is that a majority of responding agencies serve the East Bay, and the number of agencies serving the South Bay was smaller, compared to all other regions. Number of Respondents by Location 80 70 60 50 40 72 30 56 49 20 35 10 0 East Bay West Bay North Bay South Bay 3C. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY: PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS This study was not designed to generate a statistically representative study of all LGBT Jews in the greater Bay Area. There is no definitive way to do so, as there is no single source on how large that population actually might be, nor how it is constituted. Because the research design could not reach every LGBT Jew and/or every Jewish organization, the conclusions we draw in this study are limited in scope. However, we do believe that this report has surfaced the important trends, issues, opportunities, and challenges facing this community. The analysis and recommendations of this report aim to illuminate, in broad brushstrokes, some of the key trends, ideas and needs among a much larger group of LGBT Jews. While we strove to develop a diversity matrix that attempted to select participants based on broad identity and engagement considerations, the findings in this report are limited and we do not claim to represent the experiences, perspectives, or patterns of all LGBT Jews. One striking limitation of this study is the noticeable absence of LGBT Jews who self-identify denominationally as Orthodox. Because only one participant identified as Modern Orthodox, our analysis is limited and it is difficult to draw conclusions about overall needs among this particular demographic population. Jewish Mosaic researchers know that there is a small community of LGBT Jews involved in Orthodox organizations in the Bay Area, and we have anecdotal and professional experience with a wide range of Orthodox community leaders who are either publicly or discreetly open to LGBT inclusion. Jewish Mosaic tried to reach a significant number of Jewish organizations to develop a portrait of existing LGBT-related programs and services. 125 Jewish organizations, or 57% responded. However, we did not hear from 96 organizations (just over 40% of all) that were contacted, despite repeated attempts and invitations. The analysis of LGBT inclusion in Jewish agencies regarding programs, practice, and patterns relies solely on a self-selected and self-reporting data set of professionals working in the Jewish communal agencies they represent. Additionally, the research design did not include follow-up contact or interviews with participating Jewish agencies to collect more detailed qualitative information about LGBT-related program provision. Therefore, the analysis presented here does not represent every single Jewish agency in the Bay Area, and there are limitations to the generalizations we can make about patterns and trends. 19
  • 4. WHAT IS MEANINGFUL TO LGBT JEWS IN TERMS OF THEIR JEWISH IDENTITIES? 4A. MULTIPLE IDENTITIES: LGBT AND JEWISH My lesbian identity was much stronger and much more important to me in my 20s, 30s, and 40s really, than being Jewish, and later on, when I was involved in the Jewish community, I really enjoyed it, and felt like it was safe to be out as a lesbian, and I could acknowledge both parts of who I am. North Bay lesbian (50s) I feel like my Jewish identity and my gay identity are separate, I haven’t crossed the path yet. I worked at a Jewish day school in [another city] before taking this job in the Bay Area. I was totally closeted, it was not affiliated with any movement but it was on the Conservative side – so I had these 2 sides, one was Jewish, and when I play rugby, I had my gay identity. I would share my Jewish identity with my gay friends, but not the other way around. East Bay lesbian (20s) I see myself as an American first, last, and always, and kind of resent when other people think that I hold certain views just because I’m Jewish. San Francisco gay man (20s) For the past several decades, American Jews have experienced unprecedented integration into all aspects of American life. For most Jews, being Jewish is no longer considered or experienced as a stigma, barrier, or a source of marginalization in American society. In this milieu, Jewish has become a largely descriptive and willingly chosen identity category, rather than ascriptive and externally imposed. In the United States, an ideology of ‘freedom of choice” about identities and communities includes whether and how American Jews define themselves as Jewish, in relation to many other interests, groups, or activities to which they might gravitate. Being Jewish is one of many potential identity markers in an increasingly broad menu of choices (Greenberg and Berktold 2009). The respondents in this study describe having complex identities and a sense of allegiance or belonging to more than just one community. They are not “just” or “only” Jewish Americans; nor are they “just LGBT.” They are also spouses and partners, parents, mentors, activists on a range of political issues, workers and retirees, athletes, music-lovers, foodies, and many other identity categories. They belong to an eclectic array of groups, loosely defined communities, and networks. Like other American Jews, LGBT Jews often feel a sense of belonging in multiple communities, to varying degrees, and their commitments to those identities and communities often change over time. At a particular juncture or developmental stage in their lives, they may choose to privilege one identity over another. Over time, one particular identity might emerge as more important in response to changes in the social/political landscape, or might be sparked by a particular life event that prompts reflection and a shift in need. Given their multiple identities and potentially competing priorities, LGBT Jews face complex choices about where and how they want to spend their time, money, and energy and in which community (Cohen, Aviv and Kelman 2009). For some LGBT Jews, their primary identity revolves around being LGBT, and that commitment shapes their investment of time, energy, and money. For other LGBT Jews, being Jewish is far more salient and important, and their lives reflect such priorities and choices. Some LGBT Jews feel equally passionate about being both LGBT and Jewish. And for some LGBT Jews in this study, neither identity categories are particularly salient. 4B. HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA My coming out was an affirmation of my parents’ love for me, but also the acceptance that I would find in the Jewish community. My parents [came across] Rebecca Alpert’s book, Like Bread on a Seder Plate. When I came out to 20
  • [them] ... at Shabbat dinner [that week], my parents plunked me down and we had a special plate called the red plate, that you would get for a good report card, or on your birthday, or for other special times, and so they put the red plate in front of me and they read some coming out prayer that they had found in the Alpert book, and it was very sweet and moving. Peninsula lesbian (30s) My transitioning has been fairly well-received by the East Bay Reform Jewish community. East Bay transman (30s) I had never thought too much about Leviticus, as a Reform Jew. When I think back to when I studied with Debbie Friedman, I knew that my soul was pure, and more than anything, coming out reinforced that, that we’re all created in the image of God. Peninsula lesbian (60s) Just as anti-Semitism created a ‘survival ethic’ amongst Jews for many generations, and created a strong sense of solidarity, homophobia and transphobia have played similar cohesion-building roles among LGBT communities since the emergence of the modern LGBT-rights movement in the late 1960s. LGBT people often become galvanized and mobilized in the face of violent threats to physical and personal safety, and combating hate crimes against LGBT people is an enduring issue on the movement’s civil rights agenda. We recognize that homophobia and transphobia continue to permeate American culture. However, one of the most striking ‘silences’ that we found in interviews with LGBT Jews in the Bay Area was the absence of overt homophobia and transphobia in the Jewish community as a constraining factor weighing heavily on participants’ lives. In individual interviews, participants were asked to share when and how they came out as LGBT, and whether their coming out had any impact on their connection to Jewish identity and community. We also explicitly asked about both positive and negative experiences with the Jewish community in regards to being an LGBT person, in the hopes of better eliciting and understanding whether and how homophobia and/or transphobia manifests in the Jewish community. Some participants (across a wide age spectrum) talked about how, when they came out, their parents already suspected they were LGBT, so it was no surprise. Others shared that their family members initially had a difficult time, but have now accepted them and provide a good source of emotional support. Only one person we interviewed is still ‘in the closet’ with their family. Few people recounted ‘horror stories’ of homophobia as a part of their coming out narratives, nor did the majority of participants describe shaming or hurtful experiences from Jewish organizations or members of the Jewish community that might have otherwise alienated them from engaging in Jewish communal life. The transgender participants in this study thoughtfully described their gender evolution, with varying degrees of support from family members, and three transgender participants cited the strong support and encouragement of friends and acquaintances in their Jewish networks as very important to them. This is a marked contrast to the initial wave of scholarly and popular literature about LGBT people, and specific research on LGBT Jews, in three ways. First, among general scholarship and popular literatures of the past 25 years, a long-ingrained assumption has posited that homophobia and transphobia have played virulent and significant roles in LGBT people’s lives. In this study, only three respondents (all Jewish lesbians in the East Bay, ranging in age from early twenties to mid-forties) reported specific homophobic incidents within the Jewish community that involved their sexual orientation. Not a single gay man, bisexual person, or transgender person offered any specific accounts of homophobia in the Bay Area Jewish community. Transgender participants said they experienced transphobia in the wider world on a regular basis, and they perceived a need for more work to provide basic transgender education and raise transgender awareness in the Jewish community. But transgender participants did not report 21
  • or recount any specific incidents of overt transphobia among Jewish communal professionals or leaders within the Jewish community. We are not suggesting that homophobia and/or transphobia no longer exists in society in general or in the Bay Area Jewish community. We are also not denying that some Bay Area LGBT Jews still experience homophobia and/or transphobia within Jewish contexts. What the data from LGBT respondents in this study suggest is that homophobia and transphobia are not generalized or widespread in the region’s Jewish community and are not significant barriers that preclude or prevent interest or involvement in the Jewish community at this point in history – a reflection of the general openness of the Bay Area and the Jewish community that lives here. If this study had been conducted 15 or even 10 years ago, or in a different community, our findings would likely have been markedly different. We know from studies Jewish Mosaic conducted in Colorado (2006), Tucson (2007) and New York City (2008) that reports of overt homophobia and transphobia within the Jewish world did surface with some respondents and impacted patterns of engagement with Jewish organizations in those communities. The lack of reports of overt homophobia as an element of everyday life in this Bay Area study is perhaps counterintuitive, given that California recently passed Proposition 8. Many LGBT respondents talked about the galvanizing aspects of various Proposition 8 campaigns (both within and outside the Jewish community). But more often than not, they lauded Jewish communal efforts to persuade Jews to vote ‘no.’ The LGBT Jews in this study did not link the explicit homophobia of that ballot initiative with any palpable effects of homophobia in their experience of the Jewish community. 4C. SINGLE AND JEWISH I’d say [a partner] being Jewish is a plus, but I play what I call the numbers game, which is, okay, if three percent of all people are Jewish and ten percent of all people are gay and 50 percent of all people are men, and I want someone, say, in the top half in intelligence, and you start multiplying all those percentages together and you get 0.003. Peninsula gay man (40s) [A partner being Jewish is] not a requirement, but I view it as a major bonus. So I tend to find myself gravitating towards Jewish men, but it’s not a requirement for me to date someone, that they have to be Jewish. It’s just a comfort and a familiarity that’s very important, but it doesn’t rise to the level of like I wouldn’t marry this person or be with him if they weren’t Jewish. San Francisco gay man (20s) Many participants said the goal of finding a partner in general was important to them. However, if the choice was between a partner in general or specifically searching for a Jewish partner, the Jewish component of a potential partner was reported to be less important than other aspects of relationships, such as compatible values, chemistry, and shared life goals. Single LGBT Jews (across all FSA regions) expressed an interest in meeting other LGBT Jews for potential dating. While LGBT single Jews recognized that while they might prefer dating other Jews, they are pragmatic about the chances of finding compatible Jewish partners. Some respondents (particularly gay men across all age groups, whether currently partnered or not) recognized that if they limited their dating choices to only Jewish men, they might wind up single for most of their adult lives. Those individuals for whom finding a Jewish partner is crucial are weighted more toward the highly-engaged end of the Jewish engagement spectrum, and are thus over-represented among the LGBT Jews who are regularly involved with Jewish communal organizations, particularly those events, organizations and programs targeting LGBT Jews directly (the desire to meet another single Jew being one of the factors that draws such individuals to those programs in the first place). The respondents for this study, widely drawn from a diverse pool of LGBT Jews, differ in many ways from those respondents who might have participated in a study that only interviewed regular participants in the region’s wide range of LGBT Jewish outreach activities. 22
  • 4D.PARTNERED IN INTERFAITH RELATIONSHIPS It isn’t important and my partner isn’t Jewish. We’re married now. It’s not that important to me, because she’s the person I fell in love with. You can’t really control who you fall in love with. Peninsula lesbian (40s) I think that too many groups are trying to walk this weird line where they try and say it’s really better if you partner up with somebody who’s Jewish, but we want to welcome you in if you don’t -- but really that’s not as good. And we’re going to encourage these people over there to do something different, and try and pretend like you can still be accepting when you’re telling people that they’re doing something wrong. Marin bisexual woman (20s) I’m with a partner for 15 years and he’s not Jewish, but it's important that he share with me my holidays. We got married recently, and had a somewhat traditional wedding, including a ketubah, and a rabbi married us. San Francisco gay man (40s) The majority of LGBT Jews in our sample reflect trends in the wider Bay Area Jewish community, and the recent national study of lesbian, gay, and bisexual American Jews. The most recent Bay Area communal study found that the rate of interfaith heterosexual marriage has more than doubled in the region over the past two decades, from 27% to 56% (Phillips 2005). Many scholars and communal policymakers are deeply concerned about how interfaith relationships affect family decisions to participate in formal and informal Jewish activities, education, events and institutions (Erie 2009). For the majority of respondents in this study, having a non-Jewish partner was not reported as a source of conflict, and respondents reported that some non-Jewish partners participate in Jewish activities, rituals, and community events. Regardless of whether a participant has partnered with another LGBT Jew, many respondents eagerly recalled how they incorporated Jewish elements into their commitment and wedding ceremonies, including ketubot (marriage contracts), traditional blessings (often modified to reflect queer and feminist sensibilities), chuppah (wedding canopy), breaking the glass, and working with a local rabbi on the text of their ceremony. The fact that a majority of LGBT Jews partner with non-Jews has significant policy implications, in terms of outreach, inclusion and welcoming of interfaith LGBT couples in the wider Jewish community. A core insight of Jewish communal research suggests that finding a partner, and especially partnering with another Jew, acts as a critical gateway to engaging in the organized Jewish community. Finding a partner often involves shared decision-making around key lifecycle events that trigger the desire to engage the Jewish community: weddings and commitment ceremonies, hanging mezuzot in a house-warming celebration, and whether to have children or not. National and local interfaith outreach efforts have been primarily designed to invite interfaith couples to have Jewish weddings, create Jewish homes and raise Jewish children. Although LGBT couples are not openly or explicitly excluded from participation, most of the curriculum content, marketing strategies, materials and programming reflect assumptions of participants’ heterosexuality. Indeed, a recent article in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service detailed the difficulties encountered by gay and lesbian couples in the Reform Movement’s attempt to provide pre-marital education and counseling to couples intending to be married by Reform rabbis (Levy 2008). We know of only two interfaith couples’ workshops in the Bay Area that have been offered specifically targeting the needs and issues of LGBT couples (at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, through a grant funded by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties). 23
  • 4E.PARTNERED WITH OTHER LGBT JEWS As it happens, I’m now seeing someone who is at least culturally Jewish, and that’s nice. So I can schlep her to shul and Seders and stuff like that. I don’t have to translate Yiddish. She gets minority status within the culture. In terms of having company at synagogue…that just makes me all warm and fuzzy. San Francisco lesbian (50s) It’s very important. I certainly was not looking for a Jewish partner, and it has never been a factor to me at all. He truly happens to be Jewish. I mean, it was just by chance, but retrospectively, it’s really been nice, because it’s very familiar. We have a lot of similar cultural references, memories, our families are very similar. We celebrate Hanukkah, we celebrate Passover, so it has definitely given me much more of a sense of living in a Jewish household. San Francisco gay man (50s) Sharing that with her is very important, to both of us. We got married last fall. We had a ketubah, which we customized with a text that we drew on including language from the Bible and from other ketubot. We modified the seven wedding blessings for our situation, and the cantor sang for us. We had the chair dance. That’s more of a cultural connection. We were married at our synagogue by our rabbi, and there’s something about being recognized as a married couple in a religious community that’s very powerful and meaningful. That binds me and creates a tighter tie to that community. Peninsula lesbian (50s) This study found a wide gap in terms of who cited the Jewishness of their partner as an important element of relationship. Overall, younger respondents were less likely to care whether their partner (current or potential) was Jewish, compared to older respondents who cited Jewishness as an important component of a relationship. Gender matters in this regard too. Only two gay men (both in their fifties) and two transgender men (both in their early thirties) in our study reported having Jewish partners. Indeed, the respondents who cited the Jewishness of their partner as important social glue in their intimate relationships were most likely to be lesbians 40 and older. Lesbians who are partnered with other Jewish lesbians also recounted being more likely to: belong to and actively participate in synagogue life; be open about their identities and partners in synagogue; and cite their synagogues as welcoming and affirming of LGBT people. This finding suggests that older, partnered Jewish women are more likely to reflect patterns of engagement and coupling that dovetail with recent findings about relationships, partnering, and marriage among heterosexual Jews in the wider American Jewish community. 4F. LGBT, JEWISH, AND PARENTING We know a bunch of Jewish or Jewishly connected gay families, but there isn’t anything that brings everybody together. I would really like a parents’ group ... and more programming things, oriented toward parents, but also toward adults, in terms of movies and speakers and history and I think that there’s just not that much going on down here. Peninsula lesbian, 30s Few study respondents had children in their homes, with only 22% reporting children of any age, including adult children living outside the home. Lesbian couples are far more likely to have children compared to gay men, and they report more Jewish engagement through synagogues and children’s education. A few lesbian mothers cited multicultural sensitivity and programming as a concern for families with adopted and biracial children. Raising Jewish children was cited as important to LGBT parents regardless of whether their partner is Jewish or not, but interfaith LGBT families struggle to negotiate with layers of multiple identities. The key here is that the vast majority of LGBT Jews are in interfaith families, whereas interfaith families are still seen as a "minority" in the mainstream Jewish world. In fact, LGBT Jews reflect the emerging majority of Jews coupled with non-Jewish partners and raising children while facing a range of complex choices of how to do so. 24
  • 4G.COMING TO JUDAISM BY CHOICE AS AN LGBT PERSON There was a point where I heard this still small voice say, you are a Jew, and so I’ve followed that since then. I wanted to make sure I was on the right track, so I basically lived my life as if I was already a Jew. I took my time because I really wanted to make sure that this was the right place for me. I feel like it’s a part of me, so it’s as if I feel Judaism is like my right hand. I belong to this tribe now, and even though I may not be ethnically Jewish, I’m still a member of the tribe. San Francisco gay man (40s) A really key part of my coming to Judaism is that my lesbian Jewish friends all went up to this family camp at Tawonga called Camp Keshet, which is a weekend camp that’s specifically for and supportive of lesbian and gay head of families. And you had like, you know, 30 families ... and 50 little kids running around, mostly lesbian moms, a few gay dads. I think some of the seeds of my conversion were sown in that experience, because it became so obvious to me that there was this very rich set of practices that I had never been exposed to in my home life that were available to me. East Bay bisexual woman (40s) I came upon Judaism through my partner, who is herself a Jew by choice and stayed in the background. She converted to Judaism; religion wasn’t part of my background at all. Starting out for the sake of family unity, I decided to also convert. And it took on, over the course of the process more meaning for me personally. To me, I came upon it through my partner, but had she been a man I might have done the same thing. Peninsula lesbian (50s) LGBT Jews by choice in the Bay Area are a sizable sub-population of the overall LGBT Jewish community, and report high levels of engagement in Jewish organizations, particularly in congregations. In the 2004 Jewish community study, while only 3% of the overall Jewish population in San Francisco, Sonoma County and the Peninsula identified as converts, or Jews by Choice, 12% of that survey's LGBT respondents identified as Jews by Choice. This research echoes our findings, in which we interviewed eight respondents who identified themselves as Jews by Choice, all of whom were eager to talk about conversion experiences and LGBT identities. These Jews discussed at length how they found meaning, solace, and community in becoming Jewish, whether on their own or through relationships with Jewish partners. Our findings mirror strong anecdotal evidence from communities throughout the United States. Rabbis and other Jewish communal leaders have repeatedly reported high rates of LGBT interest in conversion and disproportionately high rates of LGBT Jews by Choice. 4H.TRANSGENDER JEWS I’m not hurting anyone, and we should all love everybody…we love our family, and it extends to me, beyond that, to our Jewish family. It’s a commandment, to love all Jews, and love everyone as you love yourself. San Francisco transgender man (20s) I feel whenever I go anywhere else [besides the Bay Area], my quality of life is just so much better here. I’m not unintelligible in the way that I am when I’m walking around in [an East Coast city], you think everybody’s seen everything. I am something that’s worth staring at and making comments about, in a way that I just don’t have to have that kind of attention here. San Francisco transgender man (30s) Few Jewish communal studies have included transgender Jews. For this needs assessment, nine transgender and genderqueer Jews participated to represent an important and emerging sub-population of the wider LGBT Jewish community. There were several clearly identifiable demographic and thematic trends among the transgender Jews who participated. First of all, transgender Jews in this study are overwhelmingly under forty, are more likely to embrace FTM (female-to-male) than MTF (male-to-female) in their own gender expression, and 25
  • overwhelmingly identify with the political left. Additionally, transgender respondents tend to work in the non- profit social justice sector, and report incomes of less than $50,000 per year. All the transgender Jews in this study discussed an evolutionary and two-fold process in terms of their multiple identities: coming out as queer first (usually during their late teens and/or early adulthood) and then a slow grappling with coming out as transgender to family and friends. Every transgender Jew in the study identified important mentors, friends, and family members who provided positive support during this process. A few participants described some painful experiences of disclosure to family members that have required patience and basic education about transgender issues. What is striking and noteworthy about almost all the transgender participants’ narratives is the extent to which transgender queer Jews are either already engaged in the Jewish community, or want to be more involved, but are unclear about the pathways to more involvement. Eight of the nine participants in this group mentioned several synagogues by name that they have visited, and two participate regularly in LGBT-inclusive congregations in San Francisco and the East Bay. Other transgender participants are looking for alternative ways to become more involved in the Jewish community. These young transgender Jews also cite barriers to participating more extensively in the Jewish community, which are related to financial hardship, such as membership dues and ticket fees for events. Finally, there is a widespread perception and concern among this group of LGBT Jews that significant generational differences and tensions exist among older lesbian, gay, and bisexual Jews and younger transgender Jews. A few participants identified a need for comprehensive transgender education and awareness in the Jewish community, and opportunities to engage in intergenerational dialogue regarding gender identity issues. 4I.SECULAR AND CULTURALLY JEWISH I definitely identify strongly as Jewish, and I’m kind of involved in rituals and cultural stuff, but I don’t belong to a synagogue, and I don’t go to services now. Certainly if I’m asked I say that I’m Jewish, and I was raised Jewish. That’s how I identify. It’s definitely my ethical frame of reference...It’s my family, who I am. San Francisco gay man (20s) I don’t have any desire to be religious. I have a desire to be cultural, historical – I like Bible stories, Israeli current events. My American family is agnostic and not the least bit interested in Judaism. San Francisco lesbian (60s) I’m not strongly religious. I feel a stronger cultural identity and don’t feel a need [to belong to a synagogue]. I think that there’s probably a much stronger Jewish lesbian community, or gay and lesbian community, in San Francisco, but I don’t want to be commuting down to the city necessarily, and in Sonoma County, most of it is affiliated with synagogue life, which I’m not choosing to participate in. Sonoma County lesbian (50s) My life is busy, my partner and I have jobs where we work six days a week sometimes. So that leaves us little time for family time, and what one does with that – sitting somewhere in synagogue isn’t really appealing. Spending time with [some gay Jewish friends] in San Francisco, I went [with them] to an LGBT synagogue and other synagogues, which were interesting, but not something I decided to incorporate into my life. Peninsula gay man (30s) An increasing number of American Jews identify as ‘just Jewish,’ ‘secular,’ or ‘culturally Jewish,’ and express little need or desire to participate in the organized Jewish community. We targeted LGBT Jews who identify as secular and minimally or unengaged in Jewish life as an important demographic category for participation in this study. There is no consensus about what the categories ‘secular’ and ‘culturally Jewish’ mean, but we take our lead from previous studies that suggest a connection to Jewish life through literature, art, dance, music, food, family, or holiday celebrations, but not through religious ritual or affiliation with religious institutions (AJIS 2001). 26
  • In this study, many of the LGBT Jews who identified as secular or cultural Jews said they are content with their lives, and don’t feel like they need or want anything from the organized Jewish community. They may occasionally participate in Passover seders, see a Jewish film at a festival or in theaters, or read books, websites, or other media with Jewish themes and content. But they do not report feeling any gravitational pull towards Jewish organizations, and some have found other meaningful spiritual communities within Buddhism, Quaker traditions, or Pagan communities. Many of the gay male respondents (particularly in San Francisco) fall into this category of not feeling like they need anything from the Jewish community because they say they are happy in their lives and aren’t seeking out Jewish connection. Gay Jewish men in this study, several of whom work in large, bureaucratic organizations or work long hours, expressed a desire to spend their free time socializing with friends rather than sitting on organizational committees, going to services, or attending community events. The secular LGBT Jews in this study reported that they are indifferent to, or uninterested in, anything religious or theological. While they might be interested in intellectual or cultural programming with LGBT-related content that brings LGBT Jews (as well as other interested Jews) together, they are not interested in programs that are connected to Judaism as a religion or Jewish ritual. They associate involvement in the Jewish community with religious ritual, congregational membership, paying dues or membership fees, and/or participation in synagogue activities. For them, affiliating with synagogues is not appealing, and they do not see those institutions as any kind of route for Jewish engagement. 4J. GROWING OLDER AS AN LGBT JEW They’re building this humungous Jewish Life Campus down in Palo Alto. And some of it is senior housing. I have seen nothing that says, “we’re going to serve the gay/lesbian senior community,” and I think they should say that. I don’t see anywhere in the Jewish community that that’s being addressed, and here’s an incredible opportunity to do that, because it’s just being put together, and they’re not doing any kind of outreach in that way that I’m aware of. Peninsula lesbian (50s) I don’t feel comfortable as a Jew in my retirement community. During the (2008) election, there were lots of Yes on 8 and McCain stickers, and so I’m not as comfortable here. I don’t think it’s an unsafe place as a Jew. I think it’s less comfortable as a lesbian. North Bay lesbian (70s) Because of my age, Jewish aging in this city, it’s a huge issue to me. I mean, it’s a huge issue in the gay community, too. How are gay people going to be handled at the Jewish Home? What about the Rhoda Goldman housing? What about Menorah Park? What sensitivity training is being done -- what outreach is being done to gay seniors to be part of this? How is the Jewish community going to help gay seniors grow old with dignity and feel part of the community, and not still be in the closet? If I felt the Jewish Federation, that they were in the forefront of this question, I would be engaged, because that’s very important work that affects our community. Marin gay man (50s) According to recent studies, the percentage of the Jewish community that is growing older is greater than the general non-Jewish American population. Approximately 13 percent of Americans are over the age of 65, based on recent Census data. The 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) found that 19 percent of American Jews were over 65 years of age, and 23 percent were over 60 (Rieger 2004). Both the aging of the Baby Boomers and continuing increases in life expectancy point to a sharp increase in these numbers in the decade ahead. The aging concerns of respondents in this study focused around two core issues. The first, and perhaps most pressing issue voiced by aging Baby Boomers concerned the range of affordable options for senior housing that 27
  • would be respectful and inclusive of their LGBT identities. Many LGBT Baby Boomers in our study have been out of the closet for several decades, and expressed little to no interest in ‘going back in’ to the closet when facing retirement and assisted living decisions. In a recent study (MetLife and SAGE 2006), more than a quarter (27%) of LGBT boomers reported great concern about discrimination as they age, and less than half expressed strong confidence that healthcare professionals will treat them “with dignity and respect.” Fears of insensitive and discriminatory treatment by healthcare professionals are particularly strong among lesbians, of whom 12% said they have absolutely no confidence that they will be treated respectfully (MetLife and SAGE 2006). Second, LGBT Jewish individuals in this study are deeply worried about the stability of their financial futures, living off fixed (and possibly shrinking) income. The MetLife/SAGE 2006 study found that lesbian and bisexual women appear to be less financially prepared for the end of life, have smaller nest eggs, and are less likely than their male counterparts to have purchased long-term care insurance or to have written wills. Some respondents worried out loud whether they would be able to sell their houses in a down housing market, or be able to navigate the complexities of moving from ‘aging in place’ to a more structured assisted living environment. LGBT Jews in this study expressed deep concern about the ability of the Jewish community to meet their needs, as aging Jews AND as LGBT people. They reported wanting the option of living within Jewish aging settings, but are worried about, and reluctant to compromise their integrity as LGBT people. They want to see the Jewish community pro-actively responding to their needs and concerns as LGBT Jews, by providing respectful, culturally sensitive care, advertising LGBT inclusion in Jewish aging facilities, and encouraging a critical mass of LGBT people to consider Jewish aging options, so that LGBT Jewish seniors who do make that choice will not experience isolation in those settings. 4K.THE INTERSECTION OF ISRAEL AND LGBT IDENTITIES I actually think that’s the area where I struggle the most. Because politically I’m inclined to be really suspect of Israel’s policies as a western-supported power…But at the same time I feel some allegiance for Israel as a Jewish person, and I feel obligated to defend Israel sometimes in conversation when I don’t know if I necessarily want to. I just try to avoid it unless I’m talking to other Jewish people, or other politically same-minded people, because otherwise I feel like it’s too stressful. East Bay lesbian (20s) [Israel] always has been important to me, because I studied it in Sunday school, and it was always a big part in the service. I was fascinated by geography and other countries all my life and had a special interest. I’ve never been there and haven’t really had an interest in going there, but I’ve donated to the Federation and after the wars I’ve earmarked my gifts to go towards Israel causes. Contra Costa gay man (60s) There’s this implicit assumption that every Jew is a Zionist. I think the anti-Zionist thing has brought out a whole different level of coming out. There was coming out as a queer and then there was coming out as an anti-Zionist, and I think it’s actually in some circles worse to come out as an anti-Zionist than it is to come out as queer in the Jewish community. So I think there is this assumption equated with Judaism that if you’re a Jew, you’re definitely Zionist, and finding a space that brings together what I was brought up with or what I feel comfortable with or what I know, with something that is egalitarian or queer, and not Zionist, feels virtually impossible. San Francisco lesbian (30s) Israel doesn’t play much of a role in my life. I never had any desire to go to Israel. I am very much at odds with the political situation, although of course I believe that Israel should exist and people have every right to have a homeland. I don’t believe in everything the government does. I don’t have a spiritual connection, the way my mother would. I haven’t been to any local [Israel-related] events. San Francisco gay man (40s) 28
  • I support Israel, mainly because emotionally, it represents my right to exist as a Jew. I’m old enough to remember it being formed in 1948. It is what I consider the place to run to when all else fails, it’s the hiding spot. It’s a refuge, because if and when everything else falls apart, Israel has to exist. And because of that, my own existence is caught up in making sure that Israel exists. North Bay lesbian (70s) The feelings, perceptions, and relationships to Israel are among the most difficult to characterize and understand in this study, because there is simply no consensus among LGBT Jews about these issues. Across all demographic groups, and regardless of whether people identify as Zionist or not, respondents expressed confusion and concern about the complexity of Israel’s politics. Some respondents who identify as liberal and/or left politically in general also reported ambivalence or alienation about Israeli military policies. These trends echo recent national studies that LGBT Jews are less connected to Israel and more ambivalent about their relationships to the Jewish state than non-LGBT Jews (Cohen, Aviv, and Kelman 2009). While they might express support (sometimes quite strongly) for the right of Israel to exist, some respondents said they sometimes feel embarrassed or angered by the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and their fears about politically-motivated violence dampen their potential interest in visiting Israel. Some younger respondents in this study, particularly those with self- identified radical leftist politics, expressed overt hostility towards Israel, largely based on their perceptions and feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Complex relationships and feelings among American Jews regarding Israel are not new. Indeed, over the past twenty-five years, a steady stream of research reports have theorized and detailed how, why, and to what extent American Jews feel connected to (or in this study’s case, increasingly detached from) Israel as a nation and Israelis as part of the Jewish people (Cohen 1985, 1989, Liebman and Cohen 1990, Waxman 1992). As American Jews have become more integrated into American culture and anti-Semitism plays a less salient role in people’s lives, many Jews now see the United States, not Israel, as a center of the Jewish world (Cohen and Kelman 2008, Aviv and Shneer 2005). In this study, ten lesbians, one transgender participant, and five gay men reported having visited and/or lived in Israel. Two lesbians and one gay man report having visited Israel with either synagogue or Federation-sponsored missions. In terms of age demographics, the strongest support for Israel, regardless of whether one had visited or not, was expressed by LGBT Jews over 50. This trend was particularly the case for respondents with memories of, or family links to, the Holocaust. Among younger respondents, those who expressed high levels of support for Israel also reported high levels of Jewish engagement growing up, such as day school education, consistent attendance at synagogue, and denominational youth movement involvement. The LGBT Jews in this category reported having visited Israel as teenagers or young adults on group immersion trips such as birthright/taglit Israel, March of the Living or university-based study abroad programs, and they mentioned that those Israel trips were important influences in shaping their Jewish identities. Few LGBT Jews in this study reported participating in Israel-related programs, events or activities in the Bay Area Jewish community. The few programs respondents have attended include Israel in the Gardens, fundraising dinners hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Israel-related programs and lectures at local synagogues (those mentioned included presentations by staff from Rabbis for Human Rights and the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions). When asked about their feelings regarding Israel, the majority of respondents said they felt detached from Israel, that it didn’t play a significant role in their lives. Respondents report that they don’t understand the conflict, and they wish they knew more, if only to better comprehend the news, rather than engage with other Jews about the topic. In fact, many respondents, regardless of their political views or level of self-reported knowledge, said they would rather avoid having difficult conversations, because the topic of Israel is so heated and generates such strong controversy and disagreement. Because so few LGBT Jews 29
  • in this study reported any meaningful participation in Israel-related events, we do not include the topic of Israel in the next section about how LGBT Jews engage with the Bay Area Jewish community. 30
  • 5. HOW DO LGBT JEWS CURRENTLY INTERACT – OR DO NOT – WITH THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY? Sometimes the things for queer Jews seem so thrown together. It would be nice to feel like someone was taking care to put together groups that were thematically consistent. San Francisco lesbian (30s) Not that I have anything against young people, but I wouldn’t really feel comfortable going to activities where the majority of people were under 30. Something geared toward the 40-plus, which typically tends to be, you know, really 55-plus, but that would be important to me. You know, mixed activities are fine but I’m really way past the hanging out with the young girls. It’s kind of hard to find things in common. Peninsula lesbian (50s) In some ways there’s always the problem of feeling like things are run by folks who are older than me, or like communities are a slightly older demographic. Which is fine, and probably that’s because a lot of 20-something people don’t necessarily want to be running a synagogue, or running a program. But I don’t really know that I’m looking for like a young, Jewish, queer space. San Francisco gay man (20s) In attempting to answer the core question of how LGBT Jews interact with the Jewish community, we realized that there is no one way to accurately answer this question. In fact, the notion of an "LGBT Jewish community" is misleading. The Bay Area’s LGBT Jews are not a single cohesive community, but instead are members of a complex collection of subpopulations (defined by age, gender, geography, family status, level of Jewish engagement, etc.), which are themselves full of still more diversity. Many respondents observed or perceived a tendency of programs that seem to ‘lump’ everyone together, simply because they are LGBT, regardless of demographic diversity and interests. However, instead of a single LGBT Jewish community, there are cohorts of young and middle-aged Jewish lesbians in Oakland and Berkeley, many single and partnered gay men in San Francisco, upper middle-class Jewish couples with children in the Peninsula and the North Bay, under forty, self-identified politically leftist queer Jews all over the Bay Area, and LGBT seniors in San Francisco and the suburbs, among other sub-populations. All these diverse demographic cohorts have varied interests and needs with regard to engaging the organized Jewish community. 5A.YOUNG AND SINGLE You need to be a teen and in college or settled with a family to have an established (Jewish) community here. Single or new relationship young adults are… there are plenty of things to do, but it’s more based on events rather than a synagogue just for young adults or a group you can go consistently and find that everything they do is exciting. You have to be a member of ten different organizations and go to their events… San Francisco gay man (20s) I think one reason I don’t belong to Jewish organizations is that I’m in my settling-in period. But I would also say that it might be different if the Federation had a welcoming committee. It would be interesting to ask – are there people actively pursuing a connection with those who are unaffiliated – is there something that reaches out to young new members to let them know that they’re wanted? East Bay lesbian (20s) A new wave of research focusing on younger Jewish adults has been published in the past five years. Jews under 40, in particular, express engagement and identity differently than previous generations of Jews. Joining a JCC or synagogue, identifying with a particular denomination, or giving money to a Jewish Federation, are no longer primary ways that younger Jews define themselves Jewishly. Indeed, young Jewish adults are not even particularly aware of established Jewish organizations in the community. In a recent report on alumni of birthright/Taglit Israel programs, the authors refer to younger Jews as ‘tourists’ in their own Jewish communities, 31
  • occasionally sightseeing here and there through occasional participation in programs, but not deeply engaged as ‘travelers’ or ‘citizens’ of those communities (Chertok, Sasson, and Saxe 2009). The younger LGBT Jews in this study reported that they were much more likely to be reading Jewish books, attending LGBT or Jewish films at film festivals, participating in a Passover seder, or getting involved in politically progressive activist politics as important facets of their Jewish identities. In terms of political activism, some young Jews cited participation in No on Proposition 8 with Jewish organizations, while others said they were completely uninterested in marriage equality politics, and focused their energies on anti-Zionist activism with other queer Jews. Interestingly, young Jews frequently reported having Jewish friends as important ways in which they identify and feel connected Jewishly, which echoes recent research (Bennett, at al 2007). While these young LGBT Jews are proud to be Jewish and feel a special connection to other Jews, having a strong Jewish identity does not necessarily translate into mainstream Jewish community engagement. 5B.GENDER MATTERS [In our Reform temple] we only have one gay man, but about 32 lesbians who are members. It’s a very supportive community. We have a gay day in June in our town, and as a congregation, we used to have 40-45 people marching in that, and most of them are straight, and the rabbi would lead that contingent with his children. North Bay lesbian (70s) [When I came out as lesbian] I joined [a Jewish Renewal congregation], and you know, probably half the women there are gay, and everyone is out. So there it wasn’t a problem, and it was just accepted. Contra Costa lesbian (40s) My experience with [a Reform congregation] is that they are incredibly welcoming to LGBT people, not just in their talk but in their walk. I see that they have a lot of queer members and they are out, the kids in that community are incredibly well informed by the time they are teens about queer issues and the needs of queer people. The class that we offer about social action, the kids, without any influence of the adults, sort of by themselves, chose to do activism around bullying of queer teens in high school. I just see the temple as being very inclusive. East Bay lesbian (30s): I work in a Reform congregation. It’s absolutely welcoming – the numbers aren’t as great as [another congregation on the Peninsula], there are a few lesbian couples and singles, not a lot of gay men, I can’t think of more than a few. Peninsula lesbian (60s) We recognize that gender is a complex system of embodied practices and ideas. Gender also involves a continuum of expression and identities, sometimes, but not always, linked to how individuals identify regarding sexual orientation (Butler 1989, Halberstam 2005). One of the most striking patterns in this study is the divergence between gay men and lesbians in terms of how they engage in Jewish communal life. Many study respondents who identify as Jewish lesbians are deeply integrated into Bay Area Jewish life through their professional commitments and service in their local communities. Overall, many Jewish lesbians in this study tend to be more highly engaged Jewishly than gay men, across all age cohorts and in every Federation Service Area. Some Jewish lesbians expressed their engagement professionally in Jewish communal service settings, and through lay leadership in congregations in every denomination (except Orthodox) that are primarily heterosexual. Eight Jewish women identified themselves as Jewish professionals, working as teachers, administrators, and rabbis/chaplains. Another fourteen Jewish lesbians talked at length about their lay leadership in congregations as board members, committee participants, and informal educators. Some women are eclectic in their organizational affiliation, belonging to multiple congregations or to none at all, but attending events and programs regularly where they see fit. These women reported feeling comfortable and welcomed as out lesbians, whether they are single or partnered, and partnered either in interfaith relationships or with other Jews. 32
  • In contrast, only one Jewish man and one transgender Jew (FTM) identified themselves as Jewish professionals. Jewish gay men in the study, when they are engaged in the Jewish community, tended to report that they’re involved in philanthropy and social/cultural activities. Very few men reported any interest in, or current involvement with, congregations (with the exception of four men who reported long-term affiliation with Congregation Sha’ar Zahav and more recent connection with the Mission Minyan, and one man heavily involved in a Conservative congregation). One Jewish man in his late fifties foreshadowed our finding about Jewish lesbians involved in organizational life, noting that “probably the strongest, most interested people in these issues in San Francisco are women… I just feel left out. I feel like the focus is not right for me, and that’s it.” In recent research on Jewish engagement sociologists have suggested that heterosexual Jewish men get involved in Jewish life through their partners and when they have children. In other words, marriage and children are gateways to Jewish engagement for increasing numbers of heterosexual Jewish men, and the way the Jewish community is structured largely mirrors that life trajectory. But what does that mean for involvement in the Jewish community if you are a single gay man, or if you’re gay and partnered with a non-Jew? What this study suggests is that single gay men, and gay men involved in interfaith relationships, are potentially less likely to get involved in Jewish life, unless explicitly invited to do so. I know a lot of LGBT people on the board [of my synagogue] ... and I’ve known trans people who have been involved in the past. ... It’s one thing to see people who are queer, who show up to services, but it’s another to see them on the board and feel like wow, there really are people who are in the leadership who are queer. East Bay transman (20s) The study’s transgender respondents are already engaged to a certain degree in the Jewish community. Three transgender Jews in this study reported being connected to congregations and/or progressive Jewish secular organizations, and another transgender participant is loosely involved with Jewish political activist communities. All the transgender participants in this study said they strongly want to move the Jewish community forward on transgender awareness and inclusion. 5C. SYNAGOGUE ENGAGEMENT [A Reform synagogue was] having a lesbian and gay Shabbat... I just called them and [asked] why there’s not including bisexual and transgender issues, and they were just kind of like, well what’s your story? I went there....and they encouraged me to join. I became their first out trans member, which was great, because their reaction is, well, we don’t have trans people to talk to about this stuff. So I joined and worked just a tiny bit with them, I think I read something at that service. East Bay transman (30s) It’s been made very clear from the rabbi and the pulpit that everyone is welcome. We only have one gay man, but about 32 lesbians who are members. It’s a very supportive community. North Bay lesbian (70s) I used to go to synagogue on a regular basis, but it was always families there, and I was always by myself and it made me sad, so I stopped going. It didn’t feel user-friendly to me. Also, a lot of stuff happens in San Francisco, not in the South Bay or in San Jose, so that’s a problem. Peninsula lesbian (30s) I’m finding a multigenerational community [in my congregation], which I did not realize how important that was to me, but I think it’s kind of a stand-in for some extended family that I kind of always wanted to have around. I don’t feel on the margin. I don’t feel on the outside looking in. East Bay lesbian (20s) Among the 44 LGBT Jews in this study who reported belonging to synagogues, there are distinctive gender, age, geographic, denominational, and family patterns regarding those who join. More women belong than men, and 3 of the transgender respondents reported belonging to a synagogue. Many LGBT study participants who reported 33
  • belonging to synagogues live in the East Bay, Peninsula, and North Bay, but fewer LGBT Jews in San Francisco reported synagogue affiliation or involvement. Older LGBT Jews, particularly lesbians in the East Bay and Peninsula, were more likely to report belonging to synagogues than younger LGBT Jews. However, many younger LGBT Jews in the East Bay and San Francisco reported ‘shopping around’ at various congregations or occasionally ‘dropping in’ to services (particularly around the High Holidays) without committing to paying membership dues. Not surprisingly, LGBT Jews who are actively parenting young or adolescent children were more likely to participate in synagogue life, but we also found many older lesbian couples, either with adult children not living at home or without children, who described deep involvement in their synagogue communities as lay leaders and volunteers. Also not surprising is the denominational affiliation of LGBT Jews: the majority of those connected to synagogues identify as Reform, with a smaller percentage belonging to Conservative synagogues (predominantly located in the Peninsula) or Renewal congregations (most of which are located in the East Bay). The LGBT Jews who belong to synagogues generally reported positive experiences and meaningful connections with Bay Area congregations. Several LGBT participants described, in glowing terms, how their clergy, staff, and school educators ‘walk the walk’ by demonstrating skillful competence and knowledge about LGBT issues. Several congregations in the Peninsula, East Bay, and one congregation in the North Bay were singled out 3 repeatedly as providing welcoming places for LGBT people and families. Other LGBT Jews talked about how key LGBT-related events, such as film screenings of Trembling Before G-d or lifecycle celebrations (lesbian weddings in particular), prompted important discussions about the full inclusion of LGBT Jews in congregational life. However, synagogues are not necessarily the primary route to Jewish engagement for many LGBT Jews in this study. Many LGBT Jews, particularly younger people in the East Bay and San Francisco, reported that while they have ‘shopped around,’ they hadn’t found a great fit with any particular congregation, and that they’re open to keep looking, but feel a sense of frustration about that lack of connection. For example, one San Francisco gay man in his 20’s remarked: “I have not joined a synagogue although I participate in events once in awhile. I still do all the holidays, whether I go home or do it here. I never really connected on a deep level with any of the communities. None of them offered exactly what I was looking for. I don’t know what that is, but I didn’t connect with them on a deep level.” The LGBT Jews in this study who expressed interest in finding a congregation described the problem of a ‘good fit’ in detail. They want a synagogue that is somewhat similar to what they grew up with, but one that signals full inclusion and welcoming of LGBT people. Often the congregations that seem to provide the best religious or denominational fit are not LGBT-welcoming in either overt or subtle ways. Some LGBT Jews looking for more traditional congregations feel unwelcome because they might be single or partnered with a non-Jew, or do not have children. Conversely, other LGBT Jews looking for congregations have visited ones that indeed are LGBT- friendly, but have found that they do not provide the ritual experience they seek. 5D. SYNAGOGUE ENGAGEMENT: CONGREGATION SHA'AR ZAHAV It’s meaningful to me that I have a rabbi that acknowledges that she’s being increasingly educated on trans issues, and that one of the ways I got pretty involved was when (a trans rabbinical student) came back from New York. Sha'ar Zahav has been recognizing the transgender day of remembrance for a long time, since like ’99, so that’s great 3 We have chosen not to disclose the names of ‘singled out’ congregations in order to protect the privacy of participants who are members. Some of the congregations have significant LGBT congregation populations, while others have very few LGBT members and thus naming those congregations could adversely impact the promise of confidentiality in this study. 34
  • that they’ve been doing that, but the idea was we also want something positive. So that was a really good experience. East Bay transman (30s) When I was getting ready to leave [my hometown] to move to SF, I heard through friends about this gay synagogue, and these friends set me up for dinner with someone from Sha'ar Zahav. I met all these gay Jewish guys and I had a date the next day. It was so great to find someone young and Jewish, this was 1981. So I went back to my hometown synagogue who knew me as this out gay Jewish guy. I started telling them about this gay shul, it was so new ... They asked me the name, and my Hebrew at the time wasn’t that great, and I said Sha’ar Muzar (strange gate). They said that’s appropriate. San Francisco gay man (50s) I think the synagogue is as welcoming as it can be. It tries to listen to me, and encourages people to band together, to meet anything that isn’t being met. San Francisco lesbian (50s) Many LGBT respondents across the spectrum of age, gender, and Jewish identity have walked through the doors of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in search of connection. Indeed, when asked about whether they belong to a synagogue or not, many people said “No, but when I went to Sha’ar Zahav....” and then told an anecdote about their experience. Clearly, LGBT Jews in the Bay Area see Congregation Sha’ar Zahav as the ‘mothership’ of LGBT Jewish space. It is understood by many LGBT Jews as the focal point of LGBT Jewish community in the Bay Area and serves an important purpose as an informal LGBT Jewish community center. Congregation Sha’ar Zahav has played an historically significant role in building LGBT Jewish community in the Bay Area and nationally since its inception. The congregation has created innovative, LGBT-inclusive liturgy and Sha’ar Zahav’s extensive and diverse offerings of LGBT Jewish programming are unmatched by any other organization in the region. This center of LGBT Jewish activity serves as a model to other Bay Area Jewish organizations and LGBT-focused congregations nationwide. Many openly LGBT Reform rabbis maintain deep, long-standing connections to the congregation, and the leadership opportunities at the synagogue have served as important gateways to other forms and pathways of Jewish engagement for individuals for over a generation, including the co-founders and current executive director of Jewish Mosaic. However, one congregation cannot meet the needs of all LGBT Jews. Some LGBT participants in this study cited a ‘lack of fit’ in terms of who they were as Jews, and what they were looking for in a congregation. Some LGBT Jews who grew up in more traditional or religiously-observant homes express a discomfort with Reform movement liturgy and language, whether at Sha’ar Zahav or other Reform congregations. Also, Sha’ar Zahav’s role as an informal Jewish LGBT community center is both an achievement and a challenge. Although some LGBT Jews may think of it as an all-purpose community space, it is still by design a spiritual community. Some respondents explained that they came to Sha’ar Zahav looking to connect socially with the LGBT Jewish community, but identify as secular and felt ambivalent about seeking out social relationships in the context of a synagogue. LGBT Jews on the Peninsula and in the North Bay frequently mentioned their fondness and appreciation for the congregation, but cited traffic and distance as barriers to participating on a regular basis in the life of the community. Congregation Sha’ar Zahav continues to be a focal point for a significant number of LGBT Jews, and meets some very important needs both for its core membership and the LGBT community of the entire region. However, with geographic dispersion, the increasing diversity of LGBT Jewish subpopulations, and the number of LGBT Jews for whom synagogue engagement in general is not appealing, it is important that there are numerous opportunities for LGBT Jews to connect Jewishly and to develop innovative, compelling pathways for doing so. 35
  • 5E. GEOGRAPHIC AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS Getting to places is an issue. All the stuff that goes on in San Francisco, it takes me an hour and a half to get there, and I feel like stuff happens in the city, but that’s really kind of inaccessible for me. East Bay lesbian (20s) During the week, having events in San Francisco, it doesn’t work particularly. Rotating the geography would be wonderful. If not, everything is in San Francisco. A lot of people here do not want to be affiliated with a synagogue, so they don’t have a lot of ways of connecting and communicating with each other. North Bay lesbian (70s) I know there’s a lot of stuff going on in the Bay Area, but I’m not willing to drive there, because I spend a lot of time in my car already. More stuff locally in this area would be great. Peninsula lesbian (50s) In the past twenty years, the LGBT Jewish community in the Bay Area has become a Diaspora of its own kind, dispersed outwards into all Federation Service Areas from the traditional gay urban centers of San Francisco’s Castro and Mission Districts. LGBT Jews in this study, many of whom came to San Francisco initially, decided to move from that urban core because of the desire for more space, peace and quiet, affordable housing, employment, or to raise children. Others have lived or grown up in the East Bay, Peninsula, or North Bay for years, and express little desire to relocate, simply to be closer to other LGBT people, other Jews, or both. The LGBT Jews outside of the San Francisco core that we spoke with reported that they are happy where they live, feel rooted where they are, and say they are interested in more options for connecting with other LGBT Jews in a variety of ways. In years past, the need for LGBT space would have been strong enough that most LGBT Jews would have lived in San Francisco or made regular trips there. LGBT Jews living outside San Francisco, particularly those in their forties through their sixties, no longer feel the need to make weekly or monthly pilgrimages to San Francisco to partake of LGBT programming or events. Many LGBT Jews outside of San Francisco reported that their lives are busy with work, family and other commitments. They are often aware of LGBT-related Jewish programs and activities in the City, but cite traffic, access, time, and distance as key barriers to participating in those programs. Driving an hour (or sometimes more) each way, just for an LGBT Jewish program or event, seems unappealing and burdensome. These barriers seem particularly acute for East Bay and Peninsula residents. North Bay residents in Sonoma County in particular have observed a dearth of LGBT-related programs outside of a few Reform synagogues, and wish there were more cultural options for LGBT Jews for whom synagogue engagement is not meaningful. The LGBT Jews we interviewed who do not live in San Francisco said very clearly that they would consider participation in more programs, events, and activities that cater to the LGBT Jewish community if they were local, affordable, fun, relevant, and interesting to them. 36
  • 6. WHAT DO BAY AREA LGBT JEWS WANT AND NEED FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN TERMS OF SERVICES, PROGRAMS, AND INCLUSION? In the South Bay in general, Jewish and not Jewish, there isn’t as much going on in terms of groups. I would really like a parents’ group, and more programming things oriented toward parents, but also toward adults, in terms of movies and speakers and history. I think that there’s just not that much going on down here. Peninsula lesbian (30s) Perhaps volunteer activities … cleaning up a beach, or doing Habitat for Humanity or something like that, where it’s not specifically around a Jewish activity per se, but it’s a group of Jewish people that are deciding to get together and doing it might be of interest. San Francisco gay man (40s) It may not be the top thing in my life, but knowing that there are other LGBT Jewish people who share similar concerns or interests about what may be more prominent in my life, like immigration issues/immigration rights, or how to have a sustainable environment, would make me more likely to attend an event. San Francisco gay man (50s) I can imagine a little brochure, LGBT Events, or LGBT anything, like at the Jewish Community Center. Here are the lectures we’re having, here are the exercise classes we’re having, here are the visitors that are coming, here are the book groups we’re doing, here is the art that we’re doing … it could be everything from queer parents swim group on a weekend, to a particular speaker who’s coming who might talk about queer themes. San Francisco lesbian (30s) 6A.REGIONALLY AND DEMOGRAPHICALLY TARGETED PROGRAMMING LGBT programming and outreach based on a "one size fits all" model does not meet the needs of the many study respondents who expressed preferences for more demographically targeted programming that is local, convenient, and easily accessible by public transportation or short driving distances. Also, across the board, respondents expressed a desire to see more specific marketing from Jewish organizations that identified which kind of LGBT Jews the programs are aiming to attract. Many of the young newcomers in this study, like previous generations of LGBT people, have moved to the Bay Area because they know it’s a safe place to be queer, but their move to the region may not be connected to their identities as Jews. Young people, singles, and secular LGBT Jews of all ages in this study said they were open to participating in intellectual, social and cultural activities that allowed them the opportunity to meet other queer Jews their age. Few secular LGBT Jews are seeking out explicitly religious connections to the Jewish community. Many younger Jews and relatively unengaged secular Jews mentioned going to Congregation Sha’ar Zahav as an initial entry point in order to find other queer Jews, but found that the institution doesn’t necessarily meet their needs for creating and building social networks and community. LGBT parents raising children in all Federation Service areas said they would like to see more opportunities to meet other LGBT Jewish parents. Several lesbian moms cited Camp Tawonga’s annual Keshet program as an important venue for meeting and connecting with other LGBT families, and wished there were more programs throughout the year in their local communities. Older respondents said they preferred socializing with and meeting people in similar age and gender cohorts. They seemed less interested in large, loud social gatherings where it might be difficult to have one-on-one conversations. Significantly, a few older gay men perceived feeling excluded in some queer Jewish settings and programs that were geared towards younger LGBT Jews. Some older LGBT participants (both women and men) also voiced an interest in mentoring younger LGBT Jews. These older adults saw mentoring and intergenerational programs as a potentially meaningful way to give back to their community. Specifically, some respondents said 37
  • they wanted to share their experiences of integrating their LGBT and Jewish identities, in order to prevent potentially painful coming out experiences similar to what they might have encountered, and to leave a legacy to the wider LGBT and Jewish communities. 6B.MORE IDENTIFIABLE PATHWAYS TO INVOLVEMENT AND LEADERSHIP “I would like to plug in somehow, and I think there are other people that I have talked to who say the same things. Like how do I meet other Jewish lesbians? How do I plug into the community without being involved in a synagogue?” Sonoma County lesbian (50s) “It often goes through my mind, why aren’t I more involved, and you know, why am I on the sidelines, and that sort of thing, and then I just get back into whatever I’m doing and I forget about it.” Marin lesbian (50s) “I’m definitely interested in the community and the people though, and especially the more forward thinking kind of folks that I’ve met in this area. I haven’t really gotten on the new lists or met anybody or made that kind of connection. I think that was why I was interested in the study.” Sonoma County lesbian (30s) Many LGBT Jews (across the spectrum of Jewish engagement) cited their participation in this study as a way of engaging with the Jewish community. For some LGBT Jews in this study, the interest in LGBT Jewish communal engagement is present, but there is a lack of clarity about organizational venues, options, and pathways to make that happen. These LGBT Jews said they wanted to connect their identities as LGBT and Jewish, but didn’t necessarily want to participate in synagogue life or Federation activities, particularly those associated with fundraising. These participants also do not want to drive to San Francisco for leadership opportunities if that is the only choice available. Given what we heard in interviews with individual LGBT respondents, we speculate that there might be a sizable number of LGBT Jews in the Bay Area who want to be involved in LGBT Jewish communal leadership, but they don’t know where, how, or through what venues to launch that involvement and translate their enthusiasm into leadership. What this suggests is both a challenge and opportunity to identify both clear and manageable pathways to increased involvement, and to identify and encourage the people who might want to participate as emerging LGBT Jewish leaders. 38
  • 7. WHAT DO EXISTING LGBT OUTREACH AND INCLUSION EFFORTS IN THE BAY AREA JEWISH COMMUNITY LOOK LIKE? In a short online survey of 221 Bay Area Jewish organizations, 57% (n=125) of those agencies completed the study. 79 of those agencies were classified as general Jewish organizations. The remaining 46 responding organizations were synagogues and congregations. The following chart recaps the number and types of agencies, the total number that responded, and the number/types of non-responses. Type of Organization Total Number Contacted Total Number that Total Number that Did Not Responded Respond General 124 79 45 Synagogues 97 46 51 We offer this organizational analysis of Bay Area Jewish agencies in comparison with two other studies that Jewish Mosaic conducted in Denver/Boulder, Colorado and the New York City metropolitan area. In the Denver/Boulder study, we conducted face to face interviews with 32 Jewish communal professionals, representing 22 Jewish organizations, to examine whether and how the Jewish community of Colorado has provided a welcoming hand to LGBT Jews (Aviv, Drinkwater and Shneer 2005). In the New York study, Jewish Mosaic, in partnership with the UJA-Federation of New York, conducted an online and paper survey of 112 agencies affiliated with UJA-Federation, to gather quantitative data regarding policies, procedures, and climate relevant to LGBT issues, constituents, and staff. 64 agencies (57%) completed the extensive paper survey and 104 communal professionals responded to the online survey (more than one respondent at several agencies participated). Findings from these two other studies offer an opportunity to analyze where the Bay Area stands nationally in comparison to other metropolitan areas with sizable Jewish and LGBT populations. In some cases, the findings about Jewish organizations in this Bay Area study echo what is also happening in other areas of the country. But in other cases where noted below, the Bay Area is light years ahead of other Jewish communities in terms of integrating LGBT people, policies, practice, and programs into Jewish organizations. 7A. LGBT STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS Throughout every Federation Service Area, Bay Area Jewish organizations already have LGBT people integrated into the life of the organization to a great extent, as staff and lay leaders in board positions. 78% of general Jewish organizations and 63% of congregations reported having LGBT people on staff. 65% of Bay Area agencies of all types reported LGBT people on their boards. 35% of general Jewish organizations reported having made specific efforts to recruit LGBT board members, while 15% of congregations reported having done so. These findings are noticeably higher compared to the integration of LGBT people in New York and Colorado. In New York, only 52% of Jewish organizations reported LGBT people on staff, and only 14% reported LGBT board members. The numbers in Colorado are substantially lower on both counts compared to the Bay Area and New York. In LGBT-inclusive Jewish agencies, the pervasive influence of LGBT people is almost unnoticeable because it’s simply part of the background. One respondent in the online survey commented: 39
  • “I was struck [in answering the questions] by how little we do in artificial means (via advertising, mission statements, special programs, written policies) and feel that this is because we have always been an inclusive institution and don’t have to say so publicly. Our gay/transgender staff [members] often outnumber straight staff and board members. We have often had gay board members just because we seek good board members, not because we seek gay ones. The answers above might look like an institution that is not GLBT friendly, but on the contrary, I think there is such an integrated GLBT population that we don’t seek to do anything different for that population.” In other words, being LGBT in some organizations is no longer noticeably ‘special’ because a critical mass of LGBT people is there already (as staff, members/clients, board members). In the Denver study, LGBT inclusive organizations involved highly visible and out LGBT staff members, the non-LGBT staff exhibited high comfort levels and familiarity with LGBT issues, and the organizations’ mission statements deeply held commitments to diversity and inclusion in general. LGBT identity in these Jewish spaces has become ubiquitous and normalized. Such agencies may be able to check off fewer of the markers of inclusion listed in this report than some other fully-inclusive agencies, which is why the checklist is noted as a general guideline. 7B. LGBT PEOPLE AS CONSTITUENTS AND MEMBERS Almost 60% of general Bay Area Jewish organizations (NOT congregations) reported that more than 5% of their clients/members are LGBT. Only three agencies reported NO LGBT clients or members, while four reported more than 30% LGBT clients or members. What we don’t know from this survey data is to what extent LGBT client/membership in those responding organizations is directly related to LGBT-related programs or services. Many Jewish organizations offer no LGBT- related programming (see finding below), yet report sizable numbers of LGBT clients and members. 7C.FULLY INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE? One of the simplest ways for an organization to signal a welcome of LGBT people is to explicitly state so in an organization's mission statement, on its web site, or in marketing materials. Including the words "gay and lesbian" 40
  • or "LGBT" make the desire for inclusion readily apparent to LGBT and non-LGBT clients/members and potential clients/members. Another simple way to signal welcome is to enact and publicize a fully-inclusive written nondiscrimination statement. Posting such a policy on an agency web site, or somewhere within the agency's building in a public space reminds constituents that LGBT bias will not be tolerated and that LGBT people are an assumed part of the community. Regarding such policies and statements, we found that: Very few organizations reported using language in their mission statements or on their Web sites that explicitly signals a welcome for LGBT people. For example, only 27 out of the 125 agencies that responded reported using the words "gay and lesbian" and only 12 use the words "gender identity." But most agencies, particularly synagogues, use much more generic terms, such as "diverse" (81 agencies), "inclusive" (80) and, the most common, "welcoming" (92 agencies, or 74% overall, but 89% of all synagogues). 61% reported having a written nondiscrimination policy at their agency. Of those with policies, 88% include "sexual orientation" or similar language while only 50% include "gender identity" or similar language. Those agencies that DID report using inclusive language and inclusive non-discrimination statements also reported higher rates of LGBT members (for example, of those agencies with 10% or more LGBT members and a written nondiscrimination policy, 100% reported that the policy was inclusive of sexual orientation). 7D. LGBT-TARGETED PROGRAMS This analysis of LGBT program provision relies on organizational respondents reporting on whether their organization offers LGBT-related programs. If agencies offer programs, what types of LGBT-related programs are offered and where are those programs located? It was beyond the purview of this study to conduct qualitative analysis or any type of evaluation of the LGBT-related programs that are currently being offered across the Bay Area. Future studies about LGBT program provision should fill in these important qualitative gaps in our collective knowledge and understanding. To recap, what this study did ask were the following questions: How many Jewish organizations offer LGBT-related programs? What kinds of programs do Jewish organizations offer? Where are those programs located, by Federation Service Area? A few overview findings from the data about general Jewish organizations, not synagogues/congregations: 31 general Jewish agencies across the Bay Area, or almost 40%, reported offering LGBT programs or events. This finding is much higher compared to the New York study, where only 28% of all UJA- affiliated agencies reported offering LGBT programs. Cultural events related to LGBT issues or people are the most commonly reported types of programs, followed by educational programs. Lifecycle rituals are the least commonly reported type of programs. Of the agencies that do NOT offer any programs specifically targeting LGBT constituents, the vast majority of respondents say they don’t do so because they don't target any specific populations. 11% said it’s not their mission to serve LGBT Jews. Agencies with more than 5% LGBT members are TWICE AS LIKELY to offer targeted programs. 41
  • The following chart shows the number of Jewish organizations across the Bay Area Federation Service Areas that reported offering LGBT-related programs broken out by topic: cultural events, family programs, holidays, educational programs, legal/civil rights issues (such as marriage equality), social action programs, and lifecycle rituals. Types of LGBT Programming Offered 30 25 20 15 24 10 20 18 16 5 10 12 8 0 Cultural Family Holiday Educational Legal / Civil Social Lifecycle Events Rights Action The most typical LGBT-related programs that Jewish organizations reported offering are cultural events such as films and performances (24 agencies). Following that category, 20 agencies reported offering educational programs, and 18 offered social action programs. With the recent Proposition 8 campaign, 16 agencies (including synagogues) offered events and programs about marriage equality, which will likely remain on the Jewish organizational agenda for some time to come. There is some regional variation in LGBT program provision. The chart below outlines the actual numbers of agencies that reported offering LGBT programs by region (note that some agencies offer programs across 42
  • different and multiple regions). Programming Offered by Region 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Cultural Family Holiday Education Legal/Civil Social Action Lifecycle East West North South Other What we can glean from the above distribution is that overall, a number of agencies in the East and West Bay tend to offer more LGBT-related programs compared to the North and South Bay, particularly in terms of cultural and educational programs. South Bay agencies offer the fewest programs in the areas of cultural events, family programs, social action, and lifecycle rituals. The study also sought to ascertain whether and why Jewish agencies don’t offer any LGBT-specific programs or events to the wider community. The most common responses to that question among general Jewish organizations were that agencies have limited LGBT populations or that they don’t target specific populations. Among synagogues and congregations, not targeting specific populations was the overwhelming reason given for the dearth of LGBT-related programs. Why don’t you offer LGBT-specific programs or events? It’s not within our 15% mission 8% We have a limited 47% LGBT population 15% Don’t target specific 53% populations 80% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Non-congregational Jewish agencies Synagogues & Congregations 43
  • General Jewish organizations reported reaching out to LGBT Jews through co-sponsorships, sending agency representatives to LGBT events, including LGBT organizations on their mailing lists, and distributing marketing materials through LGBT Organizations. Few Jewish agencies list or advertise their events or programs in the secular LGBT press. Interestingly, five Jewish agencies reported discontinuing LGBT-related programs in the past five years, for various reasons, including: a lack of client interest/need; lack of funding; no staff with appropriate skill set or knowledge to plan/implement programs; and a shift in organizational mission or priorities. Future studies might involve conducting more qualitative follow-up with specific agencies that have offered, but discontinued, such programs, to find out in more detail what happened in those cases, and an evaluation of whether the discontinuing of such programs signals potentially unmet communal needs. 7E.HOW LGBT-INCLUSIVE ARE BAY AREA CONGREGATIONS? Our synagogue is diverse, with people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. There is a natural flow of inclusiveness that hasn't necessitated particular outreach to any one group within the broader context of our unusually diverse community. We make everyone feel welcome, as best we can, and visitors often remark at how welcoming we are. We are a very small congregation ... many of our rabbinic interns have been openly gay or lesbian. Few or none of our congregants are. We don't do a particularly good job of outreach in general or to specific groups within our local population. I think we could benefit from information about how to become more welcoming to LGBT Jewish families. We would welcome information and ideas about how to reach out to LGBT Jews in our area, and include them in our congregational life. In the Bay Area: 11 out of 46 responding congregations (24%) reported offering programs or events targeting LGBT constituents; 22 out of 46 synagogues reported that they have fewer than 5% LGBT members, and 8 synagogues reported that more than 10% of their members were LGBT. Fewer than half of all congregations have written nondiscrimination policies (whereas most general Jewish agencies do have such policies); What the findings above suggest is that LGBT Jews who seek out participation in synagogue life tend to cluster and actively seek out those congregations that already have a visible presence of LGBT members, creating a multiplier effect for a small number of congregations. Thus, a relatively small number of congregations account for a relatively high percentage of LGBT synagogue members. Indeed, the finding of 8 synagogues with more than 10% LGBT membership echoes our qualitative analysis of interviews, where respondents identified a short list of congregations to which they belong, that are well-known in the Bay Area for their openness towards LGBT people and that they perceived to have a critical mass of LGBT Jews. However, we want to reiterate that 51 out of 97 synagogues did not respond to the study, so any generalizations that might be drawn about LGBT inclusion in synagogue life from these data is quite limited. Synagogues that did participate in the survey reported relatively high rates of LGBT staff (63%) and LGBT board members (55%) and nearly all reported using phrases like "welcoming" (89%), "inclusive" (84%) and "diverse" (77%) in their mission statements or on their Web sites. Additionally, as noted in the qualitative comments from the organizational survey, several respondents identified themselves as congregational staff members and mentioned that they want to do more outreach to LGBT Jews and their families, which signals existing openness, willingness, and opportunities for targeted inclusion. 44
  • 7F. DISCUSSION: WHERE ARE BAY AREA JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS ON THE SPECTRUM OF INCLUSION? Previous research (Aviv, Drinkwater and Shneer 2006) identified a four-part typology of Jewish organizations regarding LGBT inclusion (see appendix E for a full description of the typology). Those organizational types ranged from: Fully inclusive: “We are You;” Tolerant: “We welcome everyone – straight, gay, black or white;” Invisible: “We don’t have that issue or those people;” Unwelcoming: “We don’t want you.” In fully-inclusive institutions, LGBT Jews and their needs/concerns are pro-actively and specifically integrated into all aspects of an organization. Evidence of full inclusion would include all or most of the following: openly LGBT staff, board members, clients, and members; pro-active recruitment of LGBT lay leadership; membership forms that recognize diverse family constellations; LGBT-specific language in mission statements and/or websites; LGBT-inclusive programming, events, marketing and outreach; ongoing staff training on LGBT issues; inclusive and clearly posted non-discrimination policies; a systematic audit or review of all programs and events to ensure they are fully inclusive; the agency's leadership and/or membership are comfortable/familiar with LGBT issues, and publicly take up the cause of civil rights and equality for LGBT people; LGBT inclusion is structural and systematic and is not dependent on the inclusive agendas or reputations of individual staff or lay leaders; where the specific needs of LGBT Jews differ from those of heterosexual Jews, such differences are affirmed rather than flattened through a one-size fits-all approach. Tolerant institutions in the typology above differ from fully inclusive institutions most clearly in their lack of consistent, pro-active and structural integration of LGBT people and LGBT concerns. At tolerant institutions, LGBT people are still often present, but they are passively included and when serving as staff or lay leaders they may not be visible in such roles. An organization may have some inclusive programs or events, but others may be minimally inclusive, or possibly not inclusive, and the agency makes no pro-active effort to address such gaps in inclusion. Tolerant organizations might only offer informal staff training (or none at all), and demonstrate less comfort in discussing LGBT issues among staff and leadership. What distinguishes fully inclusive and tolerant organizations from those that are classified as invisible and unwelcoming organizations is the general willingness to openly engage LGBT issues and embrace LGBT people. Tolerant organizations are what we call the ‘moveable middle.’ They might not practice LGBT-inclusion pro- actively and systematically, but the leadership of such institutions is sincerely open and willing to pursue LGBT inclusion, particularly when gaps in inclusion are highlighted. These tolerant organizations are interested in attracting and welcoming LGBT people, and are looking for information, guidance, and help in doing so. There are great opportunities to synergistically pair organizational willingness with the identified needs and desires of LGBT Jews. 45
  • The majority of the Bay Area's Jewish organizations are at least open to welcoming of LGBT people. But only a minority could be characterized as pro-actively and systematically inclusive in terms of the policies, practices, and programs that signal (and therefore, possibly prompt) greater LGBT participation. Those organizations that are not currently pro-actively welcoming have little to lose and much to gain, in terms of potential constituents, visibility, and community goodwill, by making the transition to full inclusion. 46
  • 8. WHAT ARE THE GAPS IN SERVICES AND OUTREACH TO LGBT JEWS AND THEIR FAMILIES? “We see many opportunities to expand our programs to address the particular needs of this community, and have a plan for doing so. Our ability to do so is, of course, dependent on funding.” “We would welcome information and ideas about how to reach out to LGBT Jews in our area and include them.” “We currently do not have someone on staff who specifically is addressing outreach to this constituency, and we feel that there is a need to provide more specific programs for the audience in a Jewish context.” (Comments by communal professionals from the organizational survey) This gap analysis highlights areas within the Jewish communal landscape in which few, if any, LGBT-inclusive programs or services are currently being offered, based on responses from interviewees, focus group participants, and online survey respondents. The online survey did not evaluate the success, impact or effectiveness of programs and services currently provided by communal organizations. Since the survey was anonymous, it does not allow us to identify specific programs or specific organizations. Rather, for this gap analysis we have looked at the types of programs and services being offered in the region along with their relative frequencies. 8A. BUILDING ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY Given that most Bay Area Jewish organizations are willing to pursue LGBT inclusion, one major gap, between what exists and what LGBT Jews say they want, concerns the capacity of these agencies to become fully inclusive. The online survey respondents from Jewish organizations say they need help with resources (i.e., funding), training, marketing and outreach, and program development. They also want to ramp up their capacity to signal to LGBT Jews (through a variety of channels) that they are welcoming, inclusive, and want LGBT Jews to walk through their doors. This might require on-site technical assistance and consultation to agencies and professionals that could include: Workshops or consulting on “promising practices” regarding marketing Jewish organizations to LGBT populations, along with possible collaborative marketing and pooling of marketing efforts and resources across organizations and/or covering multiple events and programs. Trainings and/or workshops on gender identity and transgender topics offered either within individual organizations and customized to those organizations specific needs and trajectories, or as a series of regional sessions pooling multiple organizations. Workshops or consulting on performing LGBT-inclusion audits within Jewish organizations – providing Jewish communal leaders with the competency to evaluate their current program offerings toward making them more LGBT inclusive, and giving them "best practices" skills to ensure better planning and implementation of LGBT-inclusive programs in the future. A program incubator for smaller and regional organizations that might provide technical assistance and consulting to help Jewish non-profits offer LGBT-inclusive events or programs without having to invent new offerings from scratch. 47
  • 8B. WHAT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES MIGHT BE OFFE RED TO LGBT JEWS, BASED ON THEIR SUGGESTIONS? There are three gaps between what Jewish organizations offer and what LGBT Jews say they would like in terms of programs or services: regionally-based programming for targeted LGBT sub-populations, organizationally-based programming, and online resources. Regionally based programming for targeted LGBT sub-populations might identify a specific group to offer programming where there is currently none. For example, several organizations and LGBT respondents mentioned regionally-focused safe space programs for LGBT Jewish youth. This could include "gay-straight alliances" at Jewish day schools, regional joint LGBT-inclusive events for Jewish youth groups that cross organizational and/or movement lines, and training for youth program staff and Jewish educators on resources in both the Jewish and non-Jewish LGBT community for LGBT and questioning youth and teens. Although elements of this currently exist in the Bay Area, the opportunities and support for LGBTQ youth vary substantially from organization to organization and from region to region. Other examples of regionally and demographically targeted programming might involve programs for LGBT Jewish singles to ‘meet and greet’ in San Francisco, where there seems to be a high concentration of this particular sub-population. Many parents cited the need for LGBT family programs offered in each Federation service area (but particularly for families in the Peninsula, East Bay, and North Bay as identified by our respondents). Because so many Bay Area Jewish agencies offer general family-related programming, these types of programs could be designed as cross-communal collaborative efforts, bringing together LGBT families within specific micro regions across institutional or Jewish movement-based lines. Although some such programs currently exist, they are very mixed in terms of quality and quantity regionally. Finally, there might be opportunity for Jewish aging organizations to provide regionally-based programs for LGBT seniors, either in eldercare environments, or among community-wide social service and cultural organizations that serve substantial populations of seniors. Organizationally-based programming could offer a range of LGBT-thematic programs and events to a wide variety of people. The most commonly cited suggestion among LGBT respondents was a desire to see more secular, culturally-oriented programs at Jewish Community Centers around the region, including book readings/signings, performances at local theaters and museums, events modeled after THE HUB, and LGBT- related events at progressive social justice organizations. Additionally, synagogues might offer LGBT havurot and family education programs, or LGBT-related classes in Jewish adult educational settings. Several LGBT respondents said that they didn’t know where a ‘central address’ was located that offered comprehensive LGBT-related information, referrals, and resource materials online. A well-publicized resource online might be able to connect individuals, groups, and agencies with the following: Regional LGBT-related event calendars that offer one-stop online access to events and programs of interest to LGBT individuals. No such calendar currently exists. Regional e-lists of organizations offering services and programs targeting LGBT populations, including lists of LGBT-inclusive synagogues. Regional online social networking opportunities for LGBT Jews via Facebook and other sites. Information about the legal and social services landscapes relevant to Jewish LGBT adoption, estate planning, marriage, aging and family formation services. Although such resources currently exist, they are difficult for most LGBT Jews to access and many LGBT Jews are unaware of where or how they might seek support on 48
  • these topics from Jewish agencies. An online resource might provide basic information as a gateway to connecting with specific Jewish agencies that offer support, counseling, and programming on these issues. 8C.MORE IDENTIFIABLE PATHWAYS TO INVOLVEMENT AND LEADERSHIP Some LGBT Jews in this study want to get involved in the Jewish community, but are not sure where to turn, which organizations they might choose, and how they might contribute. This issue seemed particularly acute for LGBT Jews who do not live in San Francisco and are not interested in synagogue affiliation. There might be an opportunity for a regionally-based LGBT Jewish leadership development program that gives individuals concrete tools and skills, and then plugs them into Jewish organizations as volunteers and lay leaders, based on their interests. Some ideas LGBT Jews suggested for leadership pathways included: Mentoring newly out or coming out LGBT Jews (youth and adults) to provide a welcoming hand to the community; Creating a ‘safe space’ and learning opportunities to talk about Israel among LGBT Jews, in a manner that does not assume that there will be consensus; Acting as informal ‘consultants’ or point person on LGBT issues and sensitivity with a specific organization; Helping heterosexual Jewish parents who are struggling with teens/adult children who have come out, in a Jewish PFLAG setting. 49
  • 9. DISCUSSION: SAFE SPACE AND TRANSFORMATIVE INTEGRATION AS TWO POLICY APPROACHES When the gay liberation movement emerged in the late 1960’s, the primary mode of organizing revolved around the creation of ‘safe spaces’ - refuges, and havens in an inhospitable, homophobic world. Gay neighborhoods, community centers, synagogues and churches, health clinics, newspapers, and bars were formed as alternative small-scale settings that allowed LGBT people to connect with one other, share ideas, and to form relationships, families, and communities of choice. Gay outreach synagogues are a classic example of safe space in Jewish communities. The first gay synagogues were organized in the early 1970s in major metropolitan areas with sizeable gay and Jewish populations. These synagogues provided a Jewish home for gay and lesbian (the inclusion of bisexual and transgender people came later) Jews who wanted to identify as both gay and Jewish, in a safe and explicitly Jewish organizational setting. Often the focus of these gay Jewish safe spaces emphasized the blessings and gifts of both identities as important and not mutually exclusive (Balka and Rose 1991). However, as the wider secular culture has changed to slowly welcome LGBT people, the need and imperative for safe space has also changed. As mainstream organizations have become more welcoming and basic civil rights legislation has been enacted, the gay rights movement has also shifted to emphasize marriage equality, the ‘gayby boom,’ and assimilation into the basic social institutions of American culture. Some LGBT people, including LGBT Jews, find that they don’t need or want separate spaces that cater to only queer people, and feel relatively comfortable in settings that are predominantly heterosexual. Transformative integration describes an emerging approach that is changing both the gay and Jewish landscape (Shneer and Aviv 2002). Transformative integration has been defined as gradual and systemic change from within, where LGBT people are integrated (often slowly and in step-wise fashion) as full and equal members, and who work from within to change aspects of an organization’s culture, policies, and practices towards more LGBT inclusion. Change does not happen overnight, and sometimes that change can look uneven, particularly in large, national organizations where the local cultural context might vary in terms of LGBT visibility. In the context of Jewish communities, transformative integration involves Jewish LGBT people working within existing Jewish organizations, as lay leaders, clients, members, and/or staff to change the broader organizational culture and meet the needs of LGBT Jews. The creation of the LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Federation is a perfect example of transformative integration, as is the ongoing, slow process of LGBT inclusion in the Conservative Movement. 50
  • 10. POLICY IMPLICATIONS, LESSONS LEARNED, AND DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH There are significant and clear opportunities in the Bay Area Jewish community regarding LGBT inclusion in programs, services, and organizations. In our interviews and focus groups with LGBT Jewish respondents, it became clear that LGBT Jews and their families have some specific needs that sometimes differ from heterosexual Jews, in terms of what they say they want and need from the Jewish community. These include certain kinds of lifecycle ceremonies, social services that are LGBT-sensitive and competent, information and support on LGBT family formation and aging, and resources regarding legal rights. The "safe space" approach outlined in this report is one strategy that encourages organizations to offer a broad and diverse range of LGBT-focused programs, and to reach targeted demographic niches with the LGBT community. Those targeted programs offered by the Jewish community could explicitly affirm those differences and specific needs, rather than flattening them through a one-size-fits-all approach to outreach and programming. The "transformative integration" approach might be another possible strategy. In this vein, the Federations might work with Jewish organizations to help them become as fully and pro-actively inclusive as possible, thus decreasing the need for LGBT-targeted outreach across the board. Based on the findings in this report, we think the following implications should be considered in future planning processes: Acknowledge the diversity among LGBT Jews: Recognize that age, gender, and regional dispersion matter significantly in how the Jewish community might respond to and plan for LGBT outreach and inclusion. Encourage sensitivity about the existence of LGBT Jews by Choice. Encourage targeted outreach to gay and bisexual men. Support programs that explicitly welcome non-Jewish partners and less-engaged LGBT Jews in interfaith families. Provide clearer pathways for LGBT Jewish individuals to become leaders in the community. Encourage agencies to offer more intellectual, secular, cultural programming. Promote and encourage resources, staff, and organizations that are available and willing to assist in the planning and implementation of inclusive Jewish weddings and commitment ceremonies. Promote LGBT-inclusive programs and events that are affordable, convenient, clearly have no underlying goals of membership, financial contributions, or more substantive engagement. Recognize and address the complexity of feelings, and lack of consensus, about Israel among LGBT Jews in the Bay Area. Community programming: Support the growth and development of regionally based programs and events, and consider supporting more "traveling" programs that can be replicated regionally or offered in multiple regional variations. Support regional programs that could share event and program costs (for example, encouraging Jewish film festivals in SF, the East Bay and the Peninsula to share the cost of bringing a particular LGBT film director to the Bay Area for multiple, regional events). Celebrate and highlight the affirming nature of the Bay Area Jewish community, by regularly honoring those many community allies who support LGBT issues, and by offering periodic awards or forms of other public and communal recognition. 51
  • Provide comprehensive support for Bay Area Jewish organizations to become fully LGBT-inclusive: Provide education to Jewish aging organizations about LGBT history and needs, and encourage them to more pro-actively signal the extent of their LGBT inclusion and welcome. Offer trainings and programs focused on gender identity and the needs of transgender Jews, Offer professional development training around Jews by Choice and conversion to Jewish communal professionals who regularly engage with substantive LGBT populations. Encourage outreach professionals and those involved with "intro to Judaism" courses to advertise, promote or list their services and resources in non-Jewish LGBT contexts. Help agencies craft LGBT-inclusive language in mission statements and written non-discrimination policies. Offer staff training on LGBT issues. Conduct internal reviews or audits of LGBT-inclusive programs and events, and/or review existing programs and events to find ways of making them more inclusive. Provide training, workshops or consulting focused on recruiting LGBT board members to those organizations without, or with very few, LGBT board members. We do not suggest an either/or approach to encouraging LGBT participation and inclusion in the Jewish community. The data from both LGBT Jewish respondents and Jewish organizations strongly suggests that both ‘safe space’ and ‘transformative integration’ approaches might be useful for initiating and facilitating change to meet the LGBT-specific needs and opportunities identified in this report. Ultimately, both approaches are needed and can be prioritized within specific service areas, regions or organizations on a case-by-case basis. There are two important lessons that were learned from conducting this study. First, conducting community- oriented action research is a complex process, which often involves multiple stakeholders, several agencies, and lay leadership. Doing this kind of research requires patience, clear communication, and clearly identified roles and responsibilities. Second, perennial tension in the literature about community action research concerns the issues of timing and organizational needs (Reeb 2006). This kind of research usually takes significant time to plan, conduct, analyze, and write, requiring timelines that are sometimes not congruent between community clients and researchers. Finally, this study highlights the limitations of any particular research design and the need for future studies to address important questions raised but not answered. The research design for this study used a mixed method approach (qualitative interviews, focus groups, and an online quantitative survey to Jewish organizations), which yielded rich data about LGBT Jewish individuals, but based on guidance from the Planning and Advisory Group, the research did not delve into questions about the nature and specifics of successful models of programs and services to LGBT people. Future studies might focus more closely on qualitative analyses of LGBT program provision across the Bay Area to gain further insight into what needs to happen, at different agencies, to provide comprehensive LGBT programming. Other studies might provide evaluations of the successes and challenges in providing such programs to the LGBT Jewish community. 52
  • 11. CONCLUSIONS We wonder whether the Bay Area might offer a possible glimpse into the future of a ‘post-LGBT’ Jewish community, in which identity in general (whether LGBT or Jewish, or both) is a less important factor in prompting or facilitating engagement with the Jewish community than personal interests, social networks, fun shared activities, or professional commitments. For some LGBT participants, being LGBT has become a less salient way of identifying and connecting with other people, and in fact, is not something that would draw them to programs or events sponsored by the Jewish community. For many of this study’s participants, the experience of being LGBT and Jewish is inseparable, and there are still others who are struggling to define and integrate their various identities. In other words, it is difficult to characterize what the LGBT Jewish community looks like, because the idea of a unified, easily identifiable LGBT Jewish community in the Bay Area is largely a myth. Instead, LGBT Jews occupy a complex collection of subpopulations and are highly diverse in terms of age, gender, geography, identities, interests, social networks, and commitments. Many of the respondents in this study are already deeply engaged in Bay Area Jewish life and have helped to transform Jewish organizations from within as staff, board members and clients or members. Their investment in Jewish life comes from a strong commitment to being and doing Jewish, rather than focusing on their sexual orientation. A small number of Jewish organizations reflect this high level of engagement in their policies, programs, staffing, and board membership. More work might focus on helping all Jewish organizations analyze their current environments and programs, to take concrete steps towards pro-active, across-the-board LGBT inclusion. A lack of engagement with Jewish community does not mean lack of deep Jewish identity. LGBT Jews want to, and often do, incorporate aspects of their Jewish identities and Jewish culture into their lives, outside and beyond synagogue life, and they want more identifiable pathways to involvement and leadership opportunities. If the organized Jewish community wants to engage these Jews, taking these trends into account could enhance the success of strategic planning and resource allocation to meet LGBT Jewish needs and interests. A significant percentage of the minimally-engaged and unengaged respondents reported being happy with their lives, and strongly identify as Jewish. These secular and cultural Jews do not see an urgent or compelling need to seek out Jewish community programs, events or congregations. They say they would be interested in secular, cultural programs or events that bring Jews together, but they aren’t necessarily interested in joining organizations or embracing particular Jewish religious practices. Some respondents are single and pragmatic about the possibilities about finding a suitable partner (whether Jewish or not), and those who are partnered are primarily involved in interfaith relationships and families. The factors encouraging Jewish engagement (or not) mirror recent data about other subpopulations within the Jewish world, but LGBT Jews express these factors to a more pronounced degree. The respondents in this study suggest that some, but by no means all, LGBT Jews in the Bay Area have largely moved beyond the particulars of their sexual and gender identities as key ways to express being Jewish. Given how this population mirrors national trends but at higher levels, the trends and issues surfaced by LGBT Jews might be considered the bellwether of Jewish life in the United States. 53
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY Alpert, Rebecca T., Elwell, Sue Levi, and Idelson, Shirley. (2001). Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Aviv, Caryn, Drinkwater, Gregg, and Shneer, David. (2005). We Are You: An Exploration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Colorado’s Jewish Community. Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Denver, CO. Aviv, Caryn and Cohen, Steven M. (2009) Preliminary Data from the National Welcoming Synagogues Project. Unpublished presentation. Aviv, Caryn and David Shneer. (2005). New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora. New York: New York University Press. Balka, Christie and Rose, Andy. (1991) Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press. Barack Fishman, Sylvia. (2004) Double or Nothing: Jewish Families and Mixed Marriage. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press. Ben-Moshe, Danny and Segev, Zohar (eds). (2007). Israel, The Diaspora, and Jewish Identity. Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press. Bennett, Roger, Cohen, Steven M., Kelman, Ari Y and Solomon, Jeffrey R. (2007). The Continuity of Discontinuity: How Young Jews Are Connecting, Creating and Organizing Their Own Jewish Lives. Report produced for 21/64. Bronznick, Shifra, Goldenhar, Didi and Linksy, Marty. (2008). Leveling the Playing Field: Advancing Women in Jewish Organizational Life. Advancing Women Professionals and Cambridge Leadership Associates: New York, NY and Boston, MA. Butler, Judith. (1989). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge Chertok, Fern, Sasson, Theodore, and Saxe, Leonard. (2009). Tourists, Travelers and Citizens: Jewish Engagement of Young Adults in Four Centers of North American Jewish Life. Waltham, MA: Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University. Cohen, Steven M., Aviv, Caryn, and Kelman, Ari Y. (2009). “Gay, Jewish or Both? Sexual Orientation and Jewish Engagement,” Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Vol. 84, No. 1. Cohen, Steven M. and Kelman, Ari Y. (2008) Uncoupled: How Our Jewish Singles are Reshaping Jewish Engagement. The Jewish Identity Project of ReBoot, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, New York, NY. Cohen, Steven M. and Kelman, Ari Y. (2008). Beyond Distancing: Young American Jews and Their Alienation from Israel, The Jewish Identity Project of ReBoot, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, New York, NY. Cohen, Steven M. and Hoffman, Lawrence A. (2009) How Spiritual are America’s Jews? Synagogue 3000, Los Angeles, CA. Cohen, Steven M. (2005). “Engaging the Next Generation of Jews: Distinguishing the In-Married, Inter-Married, and Non-Married,” Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Fall/Winter, pp.43-52. 54
  • Greenberg, Anna and Berktold, Jennifer. (2009). Grande Soy Vanilla Latte with Cinnamon, No Foam: Jewish Identity and Community in a Time of Unlimited Choices. Report produced for Reboot. New York: Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. Halberstam, Judith. (2005). In a Queer Time & Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York, NY: New York University Press. Kelman, A. and Schonberg, E. (2008). Legwork, Framework, Artwork: Engaging the Next Generation of Jews. Report produced for Rose Community Foundation, Denver. Levy, Lynn. (2008) Including Gay and Lesbian Couples in a Premarital Educational Program in Reform Congregations. Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Volume 83, No. 2/3, Winter/Spring. The Martilla Communications Group. (2007). American Attitudes Towards Jews in America. New York, NY: Anti- Defamation League. Mayer, Egon, Kosmin, Barry, and Keysar, Ariela. (2003). American Jewish Identity Survey. New York: Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Phillips, Bruce A. (2005) 2004 Jewish Community Study of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties Ochs, Vanessa (2007). Inventing Jewish Ritual. New York: Jewish Publication Society of America. Reeb, Roger N. (2006). Community Action Research: Benefits to Community Members and Service Providers. New York: Routledge. Rieger, Miriam. (2004) “The American Jewish Elderly.” The National Jewish Population Survey, 2000-01: A United Jewish Communities Report. Sales, Amy and Saxe, Leonard. (2003). How Goodly Are Thy Tents: Summer Camps as Jewish Socializing Experiences. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press. Sarna, Jonathan D. (2004). American Judaism: A History. New Haven: Yale University Press. Shneer, David and Aviv, Caryn. (2002) Queer Jews. New York: Routledge Press. Zogby International. (2006) Out and Aging: The MetLife Study of Gay and Lesbian Baby Boomers. Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE). 55
  • RESEARCH APPENDICES APPENDIX A: WHERE RESPONDENTS HEARD ABOUT/SAW THE STUDY Source Number Email (from a friend or organization) 24 Friend 22 LGBT Alliance 15 Jewish Mosaic staff or e-mail 12 Congregation Sha'ar Zahav 6 South Bay LGBT group 5 Bay Area Reporter ad 4 Flyer 4 Sappho 4 Bay Area Jewish Healing Center 3 East Bay Federation 3 Web site 3 Connexion.org 2 Facebook 2 Jewish Milestones 2 Kehilla Community Synagogue 2 Progressive Jewish Alliance 2 Aquarian Minyan 1 BABOYZ 1 Betty's List 1 Chochmat HaLev 1 GAYLESTA 1 Jewish Family Service 1 Jewish Healing Center 1 JLDHS listserv 1 Kedem in Palo Alto 1 Lavender e-mail list 1 Lesbian Children of Holocaust Survivors list 1 LezCruz list 1 LezDykes list 1 LinkedIn 1 Peninsula JCC 1 Psychology Association 1 SF AIDS Foundation 1 SF Federation 1 South Bay Sappho 1 The J 1 UCSF LGBT listserv 1 56
  • APPENDIX B: RECRUITING A DIVERSE SAMPLE OF LGBT JEWISH INDIVIDUALS There is no one source which definitively estimates and profiles the LGBT Jewish population in San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma Counties as well as the Peninsula and East Bay. Therefore, we have utilized multiple sources and have had to make several assumptions to best derive these estimates in these geographic areas. We first turned to the 2004 Jewish Community Study of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties as it is the only source we are aware of that includes data on LGBT Jewish people. However, some limitations of the data such as the small sample size of LGBT Jewish people (which produces results with wide margins of error, less confidence, and lower reliability) and not including any East Bay data led us to look for other sources which might provide better estimates of the geographic residence patterns of LGBT Jewish people. Based on discussions with Gary Gates, Ph.D. and his recent paper titled Census Snapshot: California Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Population by Gary J. Gates and Christopher Ramos, UCLA School of Law, The Williams Institute October, 2008, we were able to obtain data on the LGBT population in each county of interest and estimates that are based on more recent data and analyses than the Jewish Community Survey. Therefore, in creating target geographic distributions of LGBT Jewish people for the Bay Area Needs Assessment research, we relied more heavily on estimates of the LGBT population than on estimates of the Jewish population under the assumption that the LGBT Jewish population has more similar patterns of geographic dispersion to the LGBT community than to the broader Jewish community. Dr. Bruce Phillips, the author of the 2004 study, was consulted and agreed with our rationale for this approach 57
  • APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW GUIDE Opening script: Thank you for participating in this study about the needs of LGBT Jews in the Bay Area. We appreciate your time and willingness to share your experiences. Just to remind you, the overall purpose of this study is to: Understand what is meaningful to LGBT Jews in terms of being Jewish; Analyze the ways in which LGBT Jews currently interact with the organized Jewish community; Develop a portrait of what Bay Area LGBT Jews want and need from the Jewish community in terms of services and programs; Catalog existing LGBT-related programs and services in the Bay Area Jewish community; Identify gaps in services and programs for LGBT Jews and their families. Your interview is an important part of this study. The results of all the interviews in this study will help Jewish community leaders to better understand what LGBT Jews want and need. It will also help those leaders strategically plan for and allocate resources to meet those identified needs. All of your responses are confidential, and we will not use any identifying information that might reveal your individual answers. If there are any questions that you don’t understand, I’m happy to clarify them for you. Section One: Jewish Background Experiences These first few questions are designed so we can better understand some of your Jewish past experiences. 1. Can you tell me what role, if any, Judaism or Jewish culture played in your upbringing? (Follow up prompts by topic: any Jewish education, synagogue involvement, home rituals?) 2. (If participant did not grow up Jewish) If you came to Judaism by choice, can you briefly describe that process? Was there any connection between your decision to become Jewish and your LGBT identity? Section Two: Coming Out and Identity We’d now like to ask you some questions about your identity as an LGBT person, and a little about your current family situation. 1. At what age did you come out, if you currently are out? (If not currently out, please skip to Section Three.) a. If participant identifies as transgender: Can you briefly describe your transition process and when that began? 2. How, if at all, did your family’s reaction to coming out impact your connection to Judaism or Jewish life in any way? 3. How, if at all, did the reactions of any Jewish professionals (rabbis, teachers, youth group staff, etc.) impact your connection to Jewish life after you came out? (Follow-up probe: was there a particular reason that you didn’t come out to any Jewish professionals if that was the case?) 4. (If participant moved here from somewhere else) How, if at all, did coming out as an LGBT Jew influence your moving to the Bay Area in any way? 5. How important is it that your partner, or potential partner, be Jewish? 6. If you are partnered, have you had wedding/commitment ceremony? 58
  • a. If you had a wedding/commitment ceremony, did you draw on Jewish traditions in any way? Did you have any interaction with clergy or with established Jewish institutions in this process? What was that like? 7. Do you have kids? If yes, specify ages and genders. If no, skip to next section. If yes, a. Do your kids participate in any organized Jewish activities? If yes, can you please describe? b. Do your kids attend any kind of Jewish education? If yes, can you please describe? c. How do you see the Jewish community as being supportive, or not, to your kids’ needs and experiences – specifically as being the child(ren) of (an) LGBT parent(s)? Section 3: Engagement with the Jewish Community and Israel 1. Tell me about your social circles – is there a context(s) where you connect with other Jewish people? How do you express being Jewish in your life currently, if at all? (Please probe here for the following: Family/Home, friends, organizational affiliation/membership/participation, and synagogue) 2. If participant belongs to a synagogue: Are you out as LGBT at your synagogue? Can you describe concrete ways your synagogue is welcoming towards LGBT people? If it’s not, can you describe how it doesn’t feel welcoming? 3. If you don’t belong to a synagogue: can you talk about why? a. (If participant is NOT involved in any Jewish organizations) Can you talk about why belonging to Jewish organizations isn’t relevant to you? 4. In what ways, if any, does Israel play a role in your Jewish identity? 5. Have you ever visited Israel? If yes, please describe (year, length of time, program?) 6. If no, why is that the case? 7. What Israel-related events have you attended in the Bay Area, if any? 8. I want to focus the next few questions on the Bay Area. Are there any specific ways you have connected with the LGBT Jewish community here? (probe for organizations, programs, events, services aimed at LGBT Jews) 9. Can you describe any particularly positive or negative experiences with any Jewish organizations or leaders in the Bay Area around LGBT issues or your LGBT identity? 10. Have you noticed any movement, shift, or changes in the Bay Area Jewish community regarding LGBT issues since you’ve been in here? 11. How could the Jewish community better serve you and better meet your needs? 12. Given that this study is about identifying and meeting LGBT Jewish needs, is there anything about your experience of being LGBT and Jewish that we haven’t asked that you think is important for us to know? 13. Are there any LGBT Jewish individuals you know that might want to participate in this study? Would you be willing to let them know about this study and have them contact us if they’re interested? THANKS SO MUCH FOR PARTICIPATING, YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT! 59
  • APPENDIX D: FOCUS GROUP GUIDING QUESTIONS Opening script: Thank you for participating in this study about the needs of LGBT Jews in the Bay Area. We appreciate your time and willingness to share your experiences, and we’re eager to hear your ideas. The overall purpose of the LGBT Jewish needs assessment study is to: Understand what is meaningful to LGBT Jews in terms of being Jewish; Analyze the ways in which LGBT Jews currently interact with the organized Jewish community; Develop a portrait of what Bay Area LGBT Jews want and need from the Jewish community in terms of services and programs; Catalog existing LGBT-related programs and services in the Bay Area Jewish community; Identify gaps in services and programs for LGBT Jews and their families. Focus groups with LGBT Jews are an important part of this study, along with face to face interviews. The results of all the focus groups and interviews will help Jewish community leaders to better understand what LGBT Jews want and need. It will also help those leaders strategically plan for and allocate resources to meet those identified needs. All of your responses are confidential, and we will not use any identifying information that might reveal your individual answers. If there are any questions that you don’t understand, I’m happy to clarify them for you. I’d like to establish a few ‘ground rule’ agreements to help make this focus group as successful as possible. 1. Please do not share with others outside of this group what is said during our conversation, to insure people’s confidentiality. 2. Try to use “I” statements and speak from your own experience as much as possible. 3. Please use respectful language about people and groups. 4. Please avoid interrupting others while they’re talking. 5. Please try to be mindful of your overall ‘air time.’ We want to hear a range of perspectives, and insure that everyone gets a chance to say what’s important to them. Questions 1. In what ways, if any, have you engaged with the organized Jewish community in the Bay Area? 2. Have you ever attended a Jewish community event that was organized specifically for LGBT Jews? If so, which one(s?)? If not, why is that the case? 3. Can you describe any particularly positive or negative experiences with any Jewish organizations or leaders in the Bay Area around LGBT issues or your LGBT identity? 4. In what ways, if any, does Israel play a role in your Jewish identity? a. What Israel-related events have you attended in the Bay Area, if any? 5. What kinds of programs or services from the Jewish community would be of interest to you? 6. How could the Jewish community better serve you and better meet your needs? 7. Given that this study is about identifying and meeting LGBT Jewish needs, is there anything about your experience of being LGBT and Jewish that we haven’t asked that you think is important for us to know? 60
  • APPENDIX E: ONLINE SURVEY TO BAY AREA JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS Thank you for taking time to complete this survey, which is part of a larger needs assessment and strategic planning process being conducted on behalf of the LGBT Alliance of the West and East Bay Federations. The overall purpose of this survey is to catalog existing LGBT-related programs and services in the Bay Area Jewish community; and to identify gaps in services and programs for LGBT Jews and their families. Your answers will be kept confidential and analyzed in the aggregate. None of your answers will be identified by name or by agency. 1.Type of agency (please choose only one that is the most accurate description): Community relations/political advocacy Culture and arts (including theaters, museums, film festivals) Supplemental and congregational education Day school education Hillel/campus-based outreach Jewish Camping Jewish Adult education Jewish Community Center Interfaith outreach Israel-related programming and/or advocacy Health and social services (including family and parenting services, senior services, counseling, spiritual care, hospice, immigrant assistance/acculturation, vocational or employment services) Synagogue/religious/spiritual community Other: 2. What region does your agency serve directly (please select all that apply)? East Bay (Contra Costa and Alameda Counties) West Bay (San Francisco and the mid-Peninsula) North Bay (Marin and Sonoma Counties) South Bay (Santa Clara County) Other: 3. At what level is your position at your agency? Senior management Mid-level management Direct service provision 4. What percentage of your clients, members or constituents would you estimate are Jewish? If the Jewish population varies significantly by program, please just provide an overall estimate for your agency. 0-10% 10-25% 25-50% 50-80% 61
  • More than 80% Not applicable (example: your agency has no clients or members) 5. What percentage of your agency’s adult clients/members would you estimate are LGBT? none 1-5% 5-10% 10-30% More than 30% Not sure 6. Does your agency use any of the following language in its mission statement or website? Yes No a. “diverse” b. “non-traditional” and/or “alternative families” c. “inclusive” d. “welcoming” e. “sexual orientation” f. “gay and lesbian” g. “gender identity” 7. Does your organization have a written nondiscrimination policy? Yes No 7.a. BRANCHING: If yes, does your organization’s non-discrimination policy include “sexual orientation,” or similar language? Yes No 7.b. BRANCHING: If yes, does your organization’s non-discrimination policy include“gender identity,” or similar language? Yes No 8. Does your agency offer any programs or events targeting LGBT constituents (programs or events for which LGBT people would be the PRIMARY audience)? Yes No Not applicable: we do not provide or offer any programs or events 8.a. BRANCHING QUESTION: IF YES, what kind of LGBT-related programs has your agency offered? (Check all that apply.) 62
  • Cultural events (book readings, film screenings, music, live performances) Family programs aimed at parents and children (including adoption, surrogacy, etc) Jewish holiday events Educational Legal and civil rights issues (for example, programs about marriage equality) Life-cycle related programs Other (space will be provided here for qualitative description) 8.b. BRANCHING QUESTION: IF NO, why don’t you offer LGBT-specific programs or events? We don’t target specific populations for our programs We have a limited LGBT population It’s not within our mission to serve the LGBT population 9. Has your agency discontinued any LGBT-related programs or services in the last FIVE years? Yes No Not applicable, we never had any 9.a. BRANCHING QUESTION: IF YES, why? (check all that apply): Lack of client interest/need Lack of funding No staff with appropriate skill set or knowledge to plan/implement programs Shift in organizational mission or priorities 10. Which of the following, if any, has your organization used to publicize your agency to the wider LGBT community? Please mark all that apply: Advertise programs or events in LGBT press Co-sponsor LGBT-themed events with other Jewish and/or LGBT organizations Send press releases to LGBT press Include LGBT organizations in your mailing list Create LGBT-specific brochures, flyers and other marketing materials Distribute agency materials through LGBT organizations Include your agency in LGBT “yellow pages” directories Seek out LGBT organizations to link to your agency online Send representatives from your agency to LGBT-themed events Other (please describe): None of the above 11. Have there ever been any openly LGBT people on staff at your agency? Yes No 12. Have there ever been any openly LGBT people on the board of your agency ? 63
  • Yes No 12.a. BRANCHING: Has your agency ever made any specific efforts to actively recruit openly LGBT people to the board? Yes No 13. Has your agency ever conducted a formal or informal audit or analysis of its programs and events, to determine if they are inclusive of LGBT participants? Yes No 13.a BRANCHING: If yes, please describe when that was conducted, and what kind of analysis? (space for descriptive comments) 14. Has your agency ever provided professional development and/or staff training opportunities regarding LGBT issues? Yes No 14.a. BRANCHING: If yes, please describe when that training(s) has occurred, for whom, and what kind of topics? (space for descriptive comments) 15. What do you see as the most pressing needs for program provision for LGBT Jews, if any, in the Bay Area Jewish community? (space for descriptive comments) 16. Please feel free to add any additional comments about how your organization addresses LGBT populations, or about this survey. THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THIS SURVEY! 64
  • APPENDIX F: ORGANIZATIONAL TYPOLOGY FROM JEWISH MOSAIC’S STUDY “WE ARE YOU: AN EXPLORATION OF LGBT ISSUES IN COLORADO’S JEWISH COMMUNITY“ In one of the first studies of its kind, Jewish Mosaic in 2006 developed a typology of Jewish institutions in the Denver/Boulder area that outlined the characteristics that contribute to an inclusive or unwelcoming environment on LGBT issues. Typology and Characteristics of Jewish Communal Institutions Type/ Leadership Institutional Climate Policies and Practices Vision Characteristics ▪ No formal or informal ▪ Neutral gendered ▪ Institution provides institutional constraints ▪ Extensive experience language in forms outreach, marketing, or ▪ Openly gay staff, lay with LGBT individuals ▪ Non-discrimination programming towards The Inclusive leadership, and constituents ▪ High comfort level clause in employment LGBT Jewish Institution (or very open to with public discussion policy individuals/families hiring/acquiring) of LGBT issues ▪ Staff training for LGBT ▪ LGBT issues/families seen ▪ Inclusion of LGBT issues in awareness/sensitivity as important constituents programming ▪ No formal institutional ▪ Neutral gendered constraints (perhaps language in forms ▪ Potential interest in ▪ Moderate experience informal) AND/OR outreach or programming with LGBT individuals ▪ Perhaps some openly gay The Tolerant ▪ Non-discrimination towards LGBT Jewish ▪ Relative comfort staff, lay leadership, or Institution clause in employment individuals/families with public discussion constituents (or open to policy AND/OR ▪ LGBT individuals/families of LGBT issues hiring/acquiring) ▪ Informal staff training seen as constituents ▪ No inclusion of LGBT issues for awareness/sensitivity in programming ▪ Informal institutional ▪ Forms use neutral ▪ No interest in any ▪ Some to little constraints gendered language OR outreach or programming experience with LGBT ▪ No or very few openly gay ▪ Non-discrimination towards LGBT Jewish The Invisible individuals staff, lay leadership, or clause in employment individuals/families Institution ▪ Discomfort with constituents policy ▪ LGBT issues/families not public discussion of ▪ No inclusion of LGBT issues ▪ No staff training for seen as priority for LGBT issues in programming awareness/sensitivity institution ▪ Little or no ▪ Forms use traditional ▪ No interest in any experience with LGBT ▪ Formal institutional gendered language outreach or programming individuals constraints The ▪ No non-discrimination towards LGBT Jewish ▪ Discomfort ▪ No openly gay staff, lay Unwelcoming clause in employment individuals/families with/opposition leadership, or constituents Institution policy ▪ LGBT issues/families not towards public ▪ No inclusion of LGBT issues ▪ No staff training for seen as relevant to discussion of LGBT in programming awareness/sensitivity institution issues 65