KESHET, a national non-profit organization working to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) Jews is partnering with the UJA-Federation of New York and several national Jewish youth groups and programs to present the first ever Shabbaton for LGBTQ teens. The Shabbaton, which is offered to teens free-of-charge, will be held August 24 – 26 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village.
“This Shabbaton is an incredible opportunity for LGBTQ Jewish teens to celebrate who they are,” says Idit Klein, executive director of Keshet.
Organizations joining on as partners in planning, promoting, and staffing the August weekend include the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Habonim Dror North America, Jewish Community Centers Association, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth’s Aleph Project, NFTY, No’ar Hadash, Rockville Open House, United Synagogue Youth, and Young Judaea, along with the gathering’s financial sponsor, UJA-Federation of New York.
The weekend, say organizers, will feature a balance of social activities, workshops, and interactive programs. Along with workshops on topics such as “LGBTQ Themes in Jewish Text” and “Starting a Gay-Straight Alliance,” the weekend will be highlighted by a performance from renowned Orthodox Jewish gay hip-hop music artist Y-Love and a talkback with documentary film director Irena Fayngold (“Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School”). In addition, participants will have open space to enjoy Isabella Freedman’s 400 acres of hiking trails, lakes, and organic farms.
“I am particularly excited to meet other queer, Jewish teens who are committed to both their identities with the LGBTQ community and the Jewish community,” says Amram Altzman, a gay teen from New York and a member of the weekend’s steering committee. “More than that, though, the Shabbaton will provide a space for queer teens to express their identities as Jews as well as members of the LGBTQ community. It will give our generation of Jewish leaders the tools we need to continue to work for equality in our home communities.”
To register or for more information visit www.isabellafreedman.org/lgbtqteen or call (860) 824-5991 ext. 305.