Keshet of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (info), nationally, Keshet offers support, training, and resources to create a Jewish community that welcomes and affirms GLBT Jews. In the Greater Boston area as well as the Denver Area, Keshet offers social and cultural events for GLBT Jews. Locally, Keshet is growing to serve the support, training and resource needs of the Jewish community.
Jewish LGBT Network (info), a San Francisco based portal for social groups, professional groups and synagogues which cater to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Jewish community. Founded by Dakota Hunter this group is 100% volunteer driven. Organizational supporters of the group vary between San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, Jewish Federation’s LGBT Alliance, Nehirim, A Wider Bridge, Keshet and Be’chol Lashon.
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav of San Francisco (info), the Congregation of the Golden Gate is a progressive Reform synagogue, established in 1977. Members and guests are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual Jews, together with family and friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
Temple Sinai of Oakland (info), their Out and About group furthers their mission of being a welcoming and inclusive congregation for all including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning Jews, along with their families, friends, and allies. They are a group of Temple Sinai congregants who want to foster a LGBT Jewish community in the East Bay.
Congregation Beth Shalom of San Francisco (info), their Gay and Lesbian Chavurah Outreach Program is called Keshet, meaning Rainbow in Hebrew. It was formed in December of 1997 for the purpose of gathering together in creating visibility, support and awareness for issues related to being part of a LGBT identity.
Be’chol Lashon (info), this global outreach organization based in San Francisco has a name that translates from Hebrew into the words, In Every Tongue. They work to grow and strengthen the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness. They advocate for the diversity that has characterized the Jewish people throughout history, and through contemporary forces including intermarriage, conversion and adoption. They foster an expanding Jewish community that embraces its differences.
Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills (info), Kulanu, meaning all of us, was established to provide support for the friends and family of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews in the Congregation Beth Am community as well as promote the inclusion of same-sex couples and families.
Nehirim based out of New York (info), Nehirim, meaning lights in Aramaic, works to build community for GLBT Jews, partners, and allies. With their retreats and programs celebrating GLBT culture and spirituality they empower GLBT Jews to become active voices in their home communities.
National Union of Jewish LGBTQ University Students (info), the National Union of Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer Students was founded by students in 1997 and is referred to as NUJLS. Today NUJLS is a program for Jewish students and young adults of diverse sexual and gender identities that empower their communities and themselves through education, support, and outreach via an annual retreat.
TransTorah of Oakland (info), helping people of all genders to fully access and transform Jewish tradition. The site and the leaders managing the site strive to assist all Jewish communities to increasingly learn how to become a more welcoming sanctuary for people of all genders.
A Wider Bridge based out of San Francisco (info), the leaders of this group states that it is time to build A Wider Bridge, which spans continents and has many paths for LGBTQ connection with Israel. They ask everyone across the globe to find your voice about Israel and join the conversation. Come with your love for Israel, your questions and concerns.
Shalom Bayit of the San Francisco Bay Area (info), this group advocates on behalf of Jewish battered women to end domestic violence in Jewish homes. With a pledge to support battered women of all sexual orientations (and yes, the diversity of gender identities) and to educate the Jewish community about domestic violence this is a safe place to find help.
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties (info), JFCS is a lifeline for children, families, and older adults facing life transitions and personal crises. Since the 1980’s JFCS has reached out with programs geared specifically to meet LGBT community’s needs. In addition to adoption and post-adoption services and services for people with HIV or AIDS, they offer counseling services for LGBT individuals, couples, and families (info)–with special outreach to the elderly.
Bay Area Jewish Healing Center (info), the Healing Center offers spiritual support to any Jew coping with illness, dying, or grief – regardless of affiliation or ability to pay – through the services of specially trained (including a specific focus on empowerment of all people of all sexual orientations and gender identities) rabbis and volunteers. They also provide support, training and information to individuals, organizations, and institutions working with Jews at home, in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, summer camps, schools and other care facilities. Whether through prayer, specialized rituals, education, information or simply a listening presence, Bay Area Jewish Healing Center can help you and those you care about during difficult times. Additionally, in partnership with Sinai Memorial Chapel of San Francisco (info) the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center offers LGBT focused grief support for mourners.
The Jewish Home of San Francisco (info), when it comes to LGBT matters, the Jewish Home is ahead of the curve among Jewish senior agencies. They specifically train the Activities and Social Services departments with practical clinical tools to work with Senior LGBT clients. With a commitment for continued learning of LGBT seniors’ unique psychosocial needs and concerns their training includes best practices for collaborating with colleagues within the Home and in the larger Jewish and LGBT communities to insure high cultural competency addressing the cultural, religious, gender and sexual orientation aspects of clients’ identities, support systems, and well-being.
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) of the East Bay (info), JFCS operates LGBT Service programs in addition to more than 25 programs within five core service areas: Volunteer, Refugee & Immigrant, Counseling, Parenting and Youth and Older Adults.
If you are in need of Jewish and/or LGBT Family and teen Support, Public Relations, Employment, Civil & Legal Rights Advocacy in the Bay Area here are a few places I would turn to first:
- SAGE: Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (info)
- Out & Equal Workplace Advocates (info)
- LYRIC: Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (info)
- CUAV: Community United Against Violence (info)
- NCLR: National Center for Lesbian Rights (info)
- ACLU: American Civil Liberties Union Northern California (info)
- ADL: Northern California Anti-Defamation League (info)
- JCRC: Jewish Community Relations Council (info)
- TLC: Transgender Law Center (info)
- GLAAD: Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (info)
- IGLHRC: International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (info)
- Intersex Society of North America (info)
- FTMI: Female to Male International (info)
- GLSEN: Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (info)
- GSA: Gay-Straight Alliance (info)
- Our Family Coalition (info)
- COLAGE: Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (info)
- TEEI: Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative (info)
- San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center (info)
- Marin and Sonoma Counties Spectrum LGBT Community Center (info)
- Berkeley’s Pacific LGBT Community Center (info)
- Contra Costa Counties Rainbow LGBT Community Center (info)
By no means is this a fully comprehensive list but it is a starting point. Please make comments below with ideas of groups or links that are not listed here but have been helpful in your work or in your life…