Pacific School of Religion rings in 2016 with two new major grants for our centers, supporting the creation of an LGBTQ Jewish Roundtable and providing operational support to our Ignite Institute.
In 2016, a new chapter of CLGS’ work begins as we add the Nehirim LGBTQ Jewish Roundtable to our family of programs. Nehirim, a Jewish LGBTQ organization founded in 2004, is closing their doors at the end of this year but have ensured that their programming will continue as part of several other organizations. CLGS is truly honored to have been asked to be one of those partners and will now be home to the Nehirim LGBTQ Jewish clergy group, which offers networking, programs, and retreats, among other things and a project on gender identity in halachic law.
The Walter & Elise Haas Fund generously agreed to provide funding for this transition and the first year of the program. This will allow us to hire a staff person for 10 hours per week to join us here at PSR and coordinate programming for Jewish LGBTQ leaders. We have also contracted with Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor who will be doing important research about the relationship of transgender people to Jewish law. She’ll present her findings at a conference in the fall of 2016.
CLGS and Nehirim have had strong links in the past. Nehirim’s founder, Dr. Jay Michaelson, delivered CLGS’ John E. Boswell Lecture in 2014, “Queer Theology and Social Transformation: Points of Contact, Points of Conflict.” Nehirim and CLGS also worked together in 2012, with PSR hosting a gathering of transgender Jews, which is believed to have been the first retreat of its kind.
The Nathan Cummings Foundation has provided a major grant for operating funds for PSR’s Ignite Institute. The Nathan Cummings Foundation is “rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. We seek to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities.”
The grant will support operational support so Ignite may fulfill its mission to provide education and training for spiritually-rooted changemakers, excavate and communicate the transformational narratives within progressive spiritual traditions, and by anchoring a network of faith communities, social justice organizations, and activists working towards economic justice.