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Reconstructionist rabbis affirm full inclusion of transgender Jews

Resolution follows similar ones passed by Reform and Conservative movements, welcoming trans and non-gender conforming people

A sign for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. (JTA)
A sign for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. (JTA)

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association approved a resolution affirming the full equality of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals.

The resolution was approved Tuesday at the association’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, which ends on Wednesday.

Non-binary individuals identify as neither male nor female.

The resolution commits the RRA to work for “full inclusion, acceptance, appreciation, celebration and welcome of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and in society at large.” The document also “strongly advocates for the full equality of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-confirming people and for equal protections for people of all gender identities under the law, at all levels of government, in North America and Israel.”

Illustrative photo of rabbis on stage at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College's 2013 graduation ceremony (Courtesy of RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities/JTA)
Illustrative photo of rabbis on stage at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s 2013 graduation ceremony (Courtesy of RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities/JTA)

The resolution was approved after a year-long process, during which time representatives from Reconstructionist congregations, as well as the board of governors of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, approved similar resolutions.

The RRA vote follows the passage by the Union for Reform Judaism of its Resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, and the passage by the Rabbinical Assembly, the association of Conservative rabbis, of its Resolution Affirming the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People.

“At a time when the newly achieved civil rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people are under attack in the U.S., a large portion of North American Jewry is speaking loudly and clearly on this issue,” the RRA said in a statement.

The Reconstructionist movement comprises about 100 congregations and 350 rabbis. Individual congregations already have experimented with methods of calling people up to Torah using gender-neutral language.

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