Conservative Rabbis Back Transgender Rights.


Following an onslaught of anti-transgender legislation across the country, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism, the international association of Conservative rabbis, made a historic move to protect transgender and gender non-conforming congregants.

Last week, the assembly passed a historic resolution urging officials in all levels of government to review their policies and practices to ensure the full equality of transgender people under the law.

The resolution will impact how Conservative synagogues, camps, schools and affiliated organizations address the safety and explicit inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming people. It encourages all organizations affiliated with the Conservative Movement “to educate themselves and their employees about the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming people” and provide safe spaces, as well “evaluate their physical site needs, workplace needs, and language that impact gender and gender expression.”

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, senior rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. and distinguished member of HRC’s Religion Council, expressed “pride” in the Conservative Movement for “its affirmation of the fundamental rights of transgender people within Judaism.”

“Since Talmudic times, our people have recognized that the human condition is not just binary. We have long known that God’s presence is manifest in a multiplicity of expressions of our genders and our lives,” Rabbi Steinlauf told HRC. “I hope this resolution will go far in promoting this deep truth of our religion in our society and in the world.”

Full Story HereJTA also has this story.


  1. Kengi says

    Conservative rabbis back transgender rights while an ACLU lawyer fights against those rights. Hang on while I take care of this. I woke up on the wrong side of the stargate again. I hate when that happens.

  2. AlexanderZ says

    To those not in the know -- big-c Conservative Judaism is a reformed form of Orthodox Judaism that seeks to develop the Halakha to fit modern society (in case you were wondering, Reform Judaism takes it further by breaking away from Halakha entirely and concerning itself mostly with traditions and customs).
    Orthodox Judaism is still very hostile to trans* people, though there were some encouraging developments recently.

  3. AlexanderZ says

    Basically “Conservative Judaism” is a misnomer. It’s conservative compared to Reform Judaism, but not conservative in an absolute sense.

  4. rq says

    Thanks for the explanation, AlexanderZ, makes a bit more sense now! Still great news.

  5. busterggi says

    “Since Talmudic times, our people have recognized that the human condition is not just binary.”

    But somehow you forgot to write that in your book?

  6. rq says

    Well, god didn’t say it, it was just human knowledge, so not worth putting down into print.

  7. blf says

    god didn’t say it

    Actually, the magic sky faeries sent lots of burning rocks and bushes, but message — “+++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR +++” — was never understood.

  8. Anathema says

    @ bustergii and rq:

    But they did write it down. People who aren’t clearly either male or female are mentioned in the Talmud.

    That being said, to the best of my knowledge (which is admittedly very limited), the Talmud only ever refers to individuals whose physical characteristics don’t fit into an absolute sexual binary. It recognizes the existence of more than two sexes, but still treats gender as if it were determined by sex.

    Acknowledging the existence of intersex people obviously isn’t the same thing as accepting transgender people. So I think that, while nothing he says is technically wrong, Steinlauf is still being somewhat misleading here.

  9. rq says

    Ah, my terrible knowledge of the Talmud is revealed. Thanks for the correction, Anathema. :)

  10. says

    This is a political numbers game, not a human rights issue. This alleged “acceptance and respect of LGBTQIA rights” is as phony as Israel’s democracy.

    For decades, the Israeli government has tried to entice ethnic jews to move to Israel and outpopulate the Palestinians. If the Israeli jewish population were 50 million, those rabbis would be singing a different tune -- a very bigoted and intolerant tune, just like everywhere else where religion holds sway.

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