The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York will be hosting a day-long conference on Wednesday, March 26, the one year anniversary of the announcement that JTS would accept students that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. It is called “Hazak Hazak V’nithazek: Celebrating Strength Through Inclusion at JTS.” The day looks like it will be fantastic, full of learning and discussion on an issue that has become central to the Jewish community. If any of you are able to go, you definitely should. The event is free and open to the public and people are invited to come for all or part of the day. I’ve copied the schedule in the continuation of the post.

7:45-8:35am: SHAHARIT AND DEVAR TORAH
Rabbi Julia Andelman, Congregation Shaare Zedek, New York City
Devar Torah: Dr. Carol Ingall, Dr. Bernard Heller Professor of Jewish
Education, JTS

8:45-10:00am: LIMMUD ALEPH (breakfast included)
Introduction: Aaron Weininger, The Rabbinical School, JTS

Panel and Discussion: “The Dynamics of Culture Change in Rabbinical
and Cantorial Schools”
Moderator: Dr. Alan Cooper, Provost, JTS
Panelists:
Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean, New York campus and Director of the
Rabbinical Program, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick Dean, The Rabbinical School, JTS
Hazzan Henry Rosenblum, Dean, H.L. Miller Cantorial School and College
of Jewish Music, JTS

10:30-11:20am: OPEN HO– USE FOR GUESTS
Facilitators:
Rabbi Ed Feld, Rabbi-in-Residence, JTS
Rabbi Charles Savenor, Associate Dean, The Rabbinical School, JTS
Sara Horowitz, Dean of Student Life, JTS
JTS students

11:30am-12:10pm: LIMMUD BET
Torah Study: “The Stranger and Strangeness”
Dr. Amy Kalmanofsky, Assistant Professor of Bible, JTS

12:15pm-1:15pm: LIMMUD GIMMEL
Lunch & Learn Panel: “Faith and Sexuality: Religious Visions for
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Inclusion and Justice”

Moderator: Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Temple Israel Center, White Plains, New York
Panelists:
Gabriel Blau, Activist and Founder, God & Sexuality Conference
Rabbi Lisa Gelber, Associate Dean, The Rabbinical School, JTS
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky, Congregation Ansche Chesed, New York City

Dr. Kate Ott, Associate Director, Religious Institute of Sexual
Morality, Justice and Healing, Westport, Connecticut

1:15-2:00pm: SIBA L’MSIBA: A REASON TO PARTY
Celebration with music and dessert
Birkat Sheheheyanu: Rabbi Lauren Kurland, Education Director,
Congregation Ansche Chesed, New York City
Kavanah: Rabbi Karen Reiss Medwed and Rabbi Francine Roston,
Congregation Beth El, South Orange, New Jersey

2:00-3:00pm: LIMMUD DALET
“A Conversation: Karov Adonai L’chol Korav: First Person Stories of Coming Out”
Moderator: Rabbi Mychal Springer, Associate Dean, The Rabbinical School, JTS

Speakers:
Rabbi Joel Alter, Assistant Head of School, Jewish Community Day
School, Boston, Massachusetts
Rabbi Carie Carter, Park Slope Jewish Center, Brooklyn, New York
Ian Chesir-Teran, The Rabbinical School, JTS

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, Associate Rabbi, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, New York City

3:15-3:40pm: MINHAH AND DEVAR TORAH
Cantor David Berger, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York City
Devar Torah: Dr. Judith Hauptman, E. Billi Ivry Professor of Talmud
and Rabbinic Culture, JTS

3:45-4:10pm: MUSICAL CELEBRATION
Debbie Friedman, Singer-Composer

4:15-4:30pm: PRESENTATION OF DARKHEI NOAM (Principles of Inclusion for
Jews of All Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities)
JTS Committee on Inclusion

4:45-6:00pm: LIMMUD HEY
“Adam and Eve Meet Adam and Steve: Inclusion in the Jewish Community
and What Comes Next”
Moderator: Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York City
Panelists:
Dr. Joel Kushner, Director, Institute for Judaism and Sexual
Orientation, HUC-JIR, Los Angeles

Rabbi Adina Lewittes, Congregation Sha’ar, Tenafly, New Jersey
Cantor Erica Lippitz, Oheb Shalom Congregation, South Orange, New Jersey

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  • Can you, or someone else, elaborate on what JTS’s policy towards bisexuals is? My understanding is that people who have at least some heterosexual tendencies should be embracing those, and that JTS is not welcoming toward students who identify as bisexual.

    Is this correct? And would they go as far as to deny admission to someone who identifies as bisexual as part of their application?

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