The modern American Jewish community needs help.  It needs vision.  It needs creativity. It needs new kinds of leadership.  And LGBTQ Jews have a unique ability to address those needs.

In this exciting new series offered by GLOE - The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC, and co-presented by Adas Israel Congregation, explore together with openly gay Rabbi Gil Steinlauf how to become LGBTQ leaders, doers, and game-changers, making the Jewish community a better place for all Jewish people – and the world.

We will explore four different intersections of Jewish and LGBTQ identities through learning, spirituality, selfhood, and community engagement:

Atzilut – Exploring the meaning, concepts and practices of LGBTQ Jewish spirituality

B’riah – Creation of empowered Jewish Knowledge and queer Torah-study

Yetzirah – Formation of new ideas and categories of what it means to be Jewish and LGBTQ in our time

Asiyah – Exploring new pathways into Jewish engagement, involvement, and leadership to shape a better Jewish future for all Jews – and beyond.

Each 90-minute seminar will cover different ways that we can use our LGBTQ experiences and strengths to say “Hineni: I am here” – proudly as ourselves, ready to become leaders and influences among the Jewish people.

This program is open to all people, LGBTQ and allies – Jewish and non-Jewish.  No previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish texts is required. (For accessibility/accommodation requests, please email


Session 1 | LGBTQ Jewish Insight: Exploring the Talmud as One of the Queerest Documents in History
February 22, 7 PM
Edlavitch DCJCC

If you want to really understand Judaism, and what it means to be Jewish, you have to study Talmud. The Talmud is the sine qua non of Jewish thought, and of the Jewish way of questioning and evaluating the world. What many don’t realize is how queer the Talmud is! By queer, we mean not only a willingness to confront sexuality, but also the courage to look at the world not as insiders and power-players, but as outsiders whose very existence challenges the conventional order of things. In this seminar, we will study original Talmudic texts (in translation). We will also explore how we in the LGBTQ community can appreciate dimensions of Talmud — and Judaism itself — in ways that few others do. And with our quintessentially Jewish-Queer insight, we can change the Jewish world for the better.

Session 2 | Privilege, Assimilation, Oppression, Trauma and Power: Exploring the Intersection of Jewish/LGBTQ Narratives
March 22, 7 PM
Edlavitch DCJCC

To be Jewish and LGBTQ is to live in the intersection of two traditionally oppressed populations. As Jews, we are the product of thousands of years of exile, persecution, redemptions, creativity and wisdom. Similarly as LGBTQ people, we inherit a long-despised condition of human sexuality and identity, and bear responsibility for generations who have been oppressed, violated, and murdered for being who we are. As Jews and LGBTQ people, we now enjoy privileges (to widely varying degrees) hitherto unknown to our predecessors. Through exploring the similarities, differences, and dynamics of identity of our Jewish and LGBTQ selves, we can gain great insight. With this insight, we can become effective leaders in both communities, able to creatively transform past traumas into new narratives to inspire communities.

Session 3 | Queer Jewish Soul: Leading New LGBTQ Pathways into Jewish Spiritual Life
April 24, 7 PM
Adas Israel Congregation

For many, if not most Jewish people today, Judaism and Jewish spirituality can fall short. The complexities and knowledge level required for much of Jewish ritual life can be challenging and even alienating. These difficulties can be all the more magnified for some in the LGBTQ community, who struggle with all the ways our Patriarchal tradition has oppressed us through generations. In this seminar, we will look deeply into Jewish prayer and ritual and discover points of meaning and power that can speak to the LGBTQ experience. Together, we will explore how these insights can help us connect better to Jewish spiritual life. Finally, we will explore how we can lift up our insights to make Judaism a richer experience for all Jewish people.

Session 4 | LGBTQ Jewish Leadership — Envisioning a Better Jewish Future Together
May 22, 7 PM
Adas Israel Congregation

By virtue of being both Jewish and LGBTQ, we possess a unique combination of experiences and insights. The Jewish community desperately needs the gifts that we bring — to enable the community to be more creative, dynamic, diverse, and fabulous. Despite a great desire to be welcoming, most Jewish communities today are still defined by their heteronormativity and inability to plan and program for a greater diversity of people and experiences. In this seminar, we will explore the trends affecting Jewish communities, organizations and synagogues. We will discern how our unique talents can best address the challenges of our Jewish community. We will learn what it takes to lead the Jewish people forward — in great and small ways — to a healthier and more diverse and vibrant future. It all begins with what we have learned by coming out: being different and unashamed, being unique and filled with pride. Together, we will explore how we can lead the Jewish people to reconnect with this essential and powerful truth of being human, and being Jewish.

DirectorJosef Palermo
(202) 777-3253

GLOE Committee 
Michael Singer*

Members: Yoni Bock, Amy Cotton, Shane Cusumano, Myrna Fawcett*, Mindy Gasthalter, Jonathan ("Yoni") Gilad, Shannon Powers, Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser, and Rachel Wolkowitz
*Edlavitch DCJCC Board member

Founders/Chairs Emeriti
Alex Greenbaum
Stuart S. Kurlander, Esq.


Edlavitch DCJCC

1529 Sixteenth Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

DC Jewish LGBTQ Community Partners


Bet Mishpachah

Social Groups:

Nice Jewish Boys 
Nice Jewish Girls
Gayyim DC: GBT Jewish men