Keshet UK: championing inclusion in the Jewish and wider community
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Keshet UK: championing inclusion in the Jewish and wider community

Dave Shaw of Keshet UK
Dave Shaw of Keshet UK
Dave Shaw
Dave Shaw

Our first in a series of posts from the people at the heart of Anglo-Jewry’s thriving LGBTQ+ organisations. First up: Keshet

By Dave Shaw, Keshet Co-Chair

Let me explain what Keshet does and why our work is important not only in supporting the lives of Jewish LGBTQI people, but for improving inclusion in the wider community and society at large.

Keshet UK is the forum which works to champion the inclusion of LGBTQI people in all areas of Jewish life in the United Kingdom by educating, advocating and raising awareness of  relevant issues in the Jewish and wider community.

We are a cross communal organisation which means we work with individual Jews, synagogue movements, educational institutions, student societies and any other relevant organisations regardless of religious or political background.

A key plank of our work is through advocacy, education and training. Keshet UK has run a number of training sessions on inclusivity where we invite people to come together and develop ideas on how to address this important topic within the wider Jewish community. Training sessions cover various topics including gender, sexuality and language; identity and privilege; tools for inclusion and planning for change.

As part of our educational work, we have previously partnered with Stonewall on their campaign to end homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools, assisting in the translation of the charity’s iconic ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!’ posters into Hebrew for use as a modern language resource in Jewish faith schools.

We have also partnered with Rainbow Jews, a ground-breaking project archiving LGBT Jewish history in the UK that was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Liberal Judaism and exhibited at the LSE earlier this year.  

Other Keshet projects have included creating videos as part of the internationally endorsed ‘It gets better’ campaign and hosting a plethora of activities at the annual Limmud Conference.  We also lobbied for the right for same sex couples to marry and be buried together within a Jewish framework 

Our small team also has frequent ‘off the record’ conversations with community leaders across the religious and political spectrum to advise on the best ways to fully embrace LGBT Jews within varied denominations and organisations.

Concurrently, Keshet UK functions as an umbrella organisation for several LGBT Jewish organisations in the UK. Through our website and newsletters, we promote the events of our affiliate groups whilst working with them to ensure that a range of activities over the London Pride Weekend cater to the diverse members of the community.

Our affiliate groups are extremely diverse, including the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group (JGLG – the world’s first), Gay Jews in London (GJIL), Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians, Imahot v’Avot (LGBT parents of Jewish Families), and Beit Klal Yisrael (BKY – a Liberal Jewish community) amongst others.

We also have strong ties with our sister organisation Keshet (USA) and are affiliated to the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Jews. Our work is enhanced through ever strengthening relationships with the United Jewish Israel Appeal, the Union of Jewish Students and the Jewish Leadership Council.

Our website serves as the first port of call for information on events and initiatives aimed at the Jewish LGBT community in the UK.  The calender contains information supplied by member groups as well as appropriate information from third parties, such as documentary screenings or support services with an interest in our demographic.  Another special feature of our website is the facility allowing people to ask rabbis (from the movement of their choice) questions about Judaism, community and LGBT issues.

Our growing social media networks on Facebook and Twitter ensure we engage in a continuous, two way dialogue with our dependents and supporters in the various ways they wish to communicate with us.

Since our work is carried out entirely by a team of volunteers, we have become more active in fundraising and are in the process of becoming a charity. Last December we were honoured to hold a reception in Parliament, the first time ever for a Jewish LGBT event. Hosted by kind permission of Mike Freer MP, it was attended by representatives from various synagogues, the Board of Deputies, and Communities minister and Stephen Williams MP. 

In addition to the aforementioned MPs, guests were privileged to be addressed by Rabbi The Rt Hon The Baroness Neuberger and Rabbi Lionel Blue – the first rabbi to identify as gay in the UK.   

This landmark event was both an inspirational and awe inspiring initiative that many never thought would happen – and one we hope to make an annual affair in our calendar.

  • To find out more about Keshet, pledge your time or make a donation, visit www.keshet.org.uk

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments