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Queer Jewish Students are invited to Washington D.C. for Leadership Conference

National Union of Jewish LGBTQ Students Conference will begin on Feb 17, 2012 at the American University Hillel, Kay Spiritual Life Center • 4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC! Participate in the annual gathering of queer Jewish students by recommending a leader to attend!

Participating student leaders from Universities across North America began calling this annual gathering a conference of the National Union of Jewish LGBTQQI Students. Naturally, an abbreviation written as NUJLS followed this long-winded title, giving us the name of the conference that we still use today, NUJLS (pronounced "NuJoules" (nüjau(-ə)ls)).

In the fall of 1998 the Office of Student Life at the University of Oregon received a notice in the mail about a student leadership conference aimed at empowering GLBT Jewish leaders. The Dean who received the memo called our local Jewish Student Union, LGBT Alliance and Hillel House to recruit someone to represent the University of Oregon at this conference called NUJLS. I was nominated, grant dollars were dispersed, I flew to Texas, met a dozen new friends and learned about Jewish community leadership. Just like that my career, as I write about in this blog, discovered its roots.

From my perspective one of the many barriers that people experience into the organized Jewish community was eliminated for me. Representing the University of Oregon as a Gay Jewish leader, gave me the opportunity as a young person to easily navigate into the depths of what our Jewish community has to offer.

Each Spring since 1997, Queer Jewish University-level students, as well as our steadfast LGBT allies, have joined together on a selected University campus to learn from each other for a weekend Shabbaton affectionately called NUJLS. Each year NUJLS features speakers, text study, and workshops on topics such as Judaism and queerness, activism, relationships, ethics, coming out, and time to talk about our differing views on how students think about Israel. NUJLS provides an opportunity for student leaders from Universities across North America to build community, network and become more familiar with Jewish life.

This February at American University in Washington D.C. students will be able to hear from galvanizing speakers, share shabbat meals and participate in leadership workshops all the while fostering in the next generation of connected and inspired LGBT Jewish leaders.

As an alumni of NUJLS and now a proud board member I am asking my networks to help me spread the word on campuses and in your greater communities about NUJLS. Learn more!

 

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breaking barriers

i was honored to be asked in my role as director of the lgbt alliance at the san francisco based jewish community federation to be one of the three featured keynote speakers at this past weekends northwest student leadership conference (nwslc).  along with the workshops that nwslc offered in grassroots organzing and campaign skills avel louise gordly, the former representative and senator of oregon and current adjunct professor at portland state university’s (psu) black studies department and yahaira carrillo, founder and legislative director to the kansas/missouri DREAM act alliance spoke.

speaking at the nwslc

my talk was on looking at how we can move forward while staying still yet continue to feel movement although we are within a constantly moving circle of experiences. honestly, i still don’t have an answer. but what I presented is my story of figuring out how to use the tools i have in my proverbial toolbox to work for community change and pay the rent for the past 11-years.

nwslc being the only conference of its kind in the region annually draws 600+ students from around north america, mostly from washington, british columbia, alaska, idaho, montana, california and oregon, to participate. as i entered into the psu ballroom compacted with students to speak on friday night – i had a moment of personal pause. it had been a long-11-years-ago that i was too a student at the university of oregon. at that time, just like i  felt on stage last shabbat, i was overwhelmed by the encircling thoughts of my immediate future. it was a humbling beginning to my talk about how i broke through barriers in order to meet my personal goals, find my community and feel some kind of success.

over the weekend as I crashed on the couches of my dearest old-friends across the greatest-hipster-city of portland i understood at a deeper level how instrumental my most authentic relationships are to any form of my success. thank you my dear gabbie’leh, douglas, brooke-e, the hip hapa’leh, theresa, laura mason, ruthie, arthur slepian, christina dobrznski, leslie, morgan mcfadden, ki ki, bonita, jared, stephanie, sal, max-a-million, dr. donnie and ms. susan mund for the love, the friendship, the reminders of everything real and the on-going inspiration. much love.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Public Speaking

 

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