Eastern LGBT Jewish Conference
Friday and Saturday
Our conference will hold its Shabbat services, oneg Shabbat reception, Saturday seminars, and dinner and entertainment at the William Way Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Philadelphia’s Center City. The address is 1315 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann will be leading Friday night services:
Lauren Grabelle Herrmann graduated from The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2006. After serving rabbinic internships in Indiana, New Jersey, New York City, and Boston, Rabbi Lauren founded Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia. During school, Rabbi Lauren served as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Intern at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the world’s largest congregation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Jews. Rabbi Lauren is passionately committed to building a community that reaches out to the margins, seeking to bring in new voices to shape Jewish community. She lives in West Philadelphia with her husband Jonathan and daughter Aviel.
Rabbi Robert J.Saks from Bet Mishpachah and Mrs. Loretta Vitale Saks will be leading Shabbat morning services with the Tach’shitim Choir at the William Way Community Center.
The William Way Community Center was formed in 1996 by a group of community leaders dedicated to improving the well-being of sexual and gender minorities through service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming. The building that currently houses the community center is the historic former Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia. Since 1997, the center offers programming for the LGBT community, and several organizations have their permanent offices in the Community Center. The Community Center is regularly used for special events such as this conference, in addition to the several thousand people who make use of its facilities each month.
Our Sunday sessions and closing brunch will take place at RRC, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which is the Rabbinical School of Reconstructionist Judaism.
Located at 1299 Church Road, Wyncote, PA 19095, about 10 miles north of central Philadelphia, RRC is the seminary of the Reconstructionist movement. Reconstructionist Judaism, established in the 1930s, is a liberal movement that views Judaism as the “evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people.” According to Wikipedia, the Reconstructionist movement sees homosexuality as a normative expression of sexuality and welcomes gays and lesbians to participate fully in every aspect of community life. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has admitted gay and lesbian candidates to their rabbinical and cantorial programs since 1985. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) has encouraged its clergy members to officiate at same sex marriages/commitment ceremonies since 1993. In 2007, Toba Spitzer became president of the RRA, the first openly gay or lesbian leader of a rabbinic association.
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote PA USA
Highlights of the conference include: * Our first ever World Congress awards ceremony * Eddie Sarfaty, a comedian who has appeared on The Today Show, Nightline and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. He performs regularly at major comedy clubs in New York City, as well as Montreal’s Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, and New York’s Toyota Comedy Festival, among others. Eddie has entertained at college campuses and at fundraisers for The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, HRC and Lambda Legal. He toured the country as one half of Two Consenting Adults, and has been a featured performer for Atlantis Cruises, Aquafest Cruises and RSVP Vacations. Recently Eddie’s short story Second Guessing Grandma received critical acclaim when it appeared in the best selling anthology When I Knew.
Other Speakers include:
Dr. Rebecca Alpert, “Whose Torah? Why Understanding Sexuality is Key to a Progressive Judaism”
Dr. Alpert is Associate Professor of Religion and Women’s Studies, Temple University. Her most recent book is Whose Torah? A Concise Guide to Progressive Judaism. She is co-author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach, author of Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition, and co-editor of Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation.
Dr. David Brodsky, “The Jewish Law of Same-Sex Intercourse”
Dr. Brodsky is Assistant Professor and Co-chair of the Department of Rabbinic Civilization at RRC. He is author of Bride Without a Blessing: A Study in the Redaction & Content of Massekhet Kallah & Its Gemara
Dr. Tamar Kamionkowski, “Boys Will Be Boys, or Maybe Not: Gender Ambiguity in Prophetic Literature”
Dr. Kamionkowski is Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of RRC, where she is Chair of the Department of Biblical Civilization. She is author of Gender Reversal and Cosmic Chaos: A Study on the Book of Ezekiel.
Gregg Drinkwater ""Twice Blessed: 100 Years of Queer Jewish History"
Gregg Drinkwater is Jewish Mosaic’s director and one of the organization’s three co-founders. Prior to joining Jewish Mosaic, Drinkwater worked in nonprofit communications, at a daily newspaper in Moscow, and as the news editor for San Francisco-based PlanetOut Inc., publishers of Gay.com and PlanetOut.com, the world’s most popular LGBT Web sites.
He is the co-editor, with Dr. David Shneer and Rabbi Joshua Lesser, of the book Torah Queeries (NYU Press, forthcoming), inspired by the online Torah commentary project launched by Jewish Mosaic in 2006, in collaboration with the World Congress of GLBT Jews.
Dr. Warren Hoffman "Queering Jewish American Culture"
Warren Hoffman received his Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of California--Santa Cruz where he worked on Jewish American literature, theater, and queer studies. His book The Passing Game: Queering Jewish American Culture will be released by Syracuse University Press in March 2009. Warren has taught at Hunter College, Rutgers University, the University of Delaware, and currently teaches at Temple University. In addition to his academic work, Warren is a theater professional having most recently served three years as the dramaturg and literary manager for Philadelphia Theatre Company where he worked with such playwrights as Terrence McNally, Christopher Durang, and David Henry Hwang. Warren was a theatre critic for TalkinBroadway.com and served as the Associate Artistic Director of Jewish Repertory Theatre in New York. He is the author of two plays, the most recent of which, The Last, just won this year’s National Foundation for Jewish Culture Theatre Development Award. Warren currently serves as the Director of Arts and Cultural Programming for the Gershman Y in Philadelphia.
Where to stay
We have booked rooms at three hotels at various prices to accommodate everyone’s needs:
400 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. +1 215 923 8660, 1 800 THE BELL; FAX +1 215 829 1796. $169. Reservations by Sept. 26; code GLJ.
201 South Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 19106 Tel: +1 215 928 1234; 1 800 223 1234. Fax: +1 215 521 6600 $194. Reservations by Sept. 15; reference World Congress of GLBT Jews.
100 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106. +1 215 627 7900; FAX +1 215 238 0809. $137 including complimentary continental breakfast. Reservations by Sept. 24; contact person Katelyn Waldron.
1201 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107. +1 215-625-6784; FAX +1 215-625-6780. $209 single or double. Contact Kendra Russo: email@example.com
Please contact hotels to arrange accommodations.
$195 early bird for members;
$225 non memebers through August 31
$220 members; $250 non members through September 30
$245 members; $275 non members through October 20 No onsite registration.
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Please fill in the attached registration form and email it to email@example.com. To download registration form, please click on the World Congress icon below. Make sure you have made the payment through our secure online form. We look forward to seeing you there!