Earlier this year, Hillel announced a partnership with Keshet in order to better support campuses in overcoming divides between Judaism and sexual identity. As part of Hillel’s ongoing commitment to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) inclusion, we’ve compiled a list of seven colleges we think are doing an awesome job of engaging in active collaborations with campus LGBTQ centers, have LGBTQ-inclusive policies and programming, and even support Jewish LGBTQ student groups. So as you continue to look for the perfect campus and make your college decisions, we encourage you to consider one of these schools doing great work:
1. University of Maryland: University of Maryland’s Jewish LGBTQ group, Hamsa, invites everyone and anyone, regardless of social or religious orientation, to join events and discussions hosted and led by the group. The group is for everyone who wants to make the Jewish community a more comfortable place for and more accepting of LGBTQ students. If you would like to learn more about Hamsa, contact Elie Dickler.
2. Columbia and Barnard: Columbia and Barnard Hillel’s Gayava is the Jewish LGBTQ group open and available to all students on campus. It provides a safe environment for undergraduate and graduate students to socialize as members of both the Jewish and LGBTQ communities. Gayava also makes a noticeable effort to foster awareness of LGBTQ issues in New York and in the greater Jewish community.
3. University of Wisconsin: One in a Minyan is the Jewish group available to all students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The group works to provide support and programming for LGBTQ individuals and all of their allies. One in a Minyan hosts movie nights, discussions, guest speakers, as well as other social and educational opportunities. Please contact Jen Jennings if you would like more information.
4. University of Pennsylvania: J-Bagel is a Philadelphia-wide student group dedicated to serving members of the LGBTQ community. J-Bagel runs events for both the Jewish and LGBTQ communities, including social gatherings, panel discussions, and Shabbat dinners. J-Bagel keeps an active online listserv where privacy is deeply respected. For more information, or to get involved, contact Ian Fiedler.
5. University of Michigan: The Jewish LGBTQ and friends group at the University of Michigan, AHAVA provides a relaxed atmosphere where people from diverse Jewish backgrounds can feel comfortable. The group often partners with the Spectrum Center, the office of LGBT Affairs on campus, and also sponsors guest speakers to lead discussions on topics relevant to students’ lives.
6. University of Southern California: Jewish Alliances for GLBTs and Straights is USC’s organization where students can learn more about Judaism, and explore the intersectionality of being LGBTQ and Jewish. Students of all denominations are welcome; in fact, most of the students are not Jewish. Contact JAGS to learn more about Judaism, meet LGBTQ rabbis, and celebrate Shabbat with likeminded people.
7. New York University: The Bronfman Center’s Keshet seeks to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ students of all denominations and Jewish backgrounds to participate in Jewish life and queer life on campus. In partnership with student clubs and with NYU’s LGBTQ Student Center, Keshet holds various events throughout the year to educate, advocate, and support LGBTQ issues and students. For more information or to get involved contact Rabbi Nikki Deblosi.
For more information on Hillel’s work toward more LGBTQ-inclusive communities, check out our online Guide to More LGBTQ Inclusive Hillels or our poster encompassing Seven Jewish Values that define an inclusive Jewish community.
Is your school among those working to make Jewish LGBTQ students feel welcome? Tell us about it in the comments!