Conservative Judaism’s Rabbinical Arm Passes Resolution Affirming the Rights of Transgender People

Michael Toumayan

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.”

The vote comes on the heels of a similar resolution passed by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) at its biennial last year in Orlando, Florida.

Ultimately, one principal affirmation prevails, as noted in the opening, that we are all created b’tzelem Elohim (in God’s Divine Image). In April, HRC Foundation released Coming Home to Judaism and to Self to help LGBTQ Jews who are seeking to reconnect with their faith and build more inclusive communities.

The trend toward greater inclusion has even a strong rabbinic tradition centered on kvod habriyot (human dignity). To learn more about the stance of Conservative Judaism on LGBT Issues, please visit HRC’s Positions of Faiths.

Read the full text of the resolution here.

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