People Want to Know

/People Want to Know
People Want to Know 2017-12-21T12:25:26+00:00


Let People Know!



It only takes about 5 minutes

Have you already taken steps towards LGBTQ inclusion? Do you consider your institution open, safe, and welcoming to LGBTQ Jews and their families? Do you want to find a way to let the community know that you have LGBTQ inclusive policies and practices? The simplest way to inform the Westchester Jewish community is to 


The Equality Guide from Keshet is a very important way for LGBTQ Jews and their loved ones to find inclusive Jewish clergy and institutions in Westchester and to learn about their policies and practices. We are proud that 10 Westchester synagogues/spiritual leaders are already participating.

In addition, we invite you to share “your story” which can include such things as a narrative, sermons, photos, celebrations, etc. demonstrating the steps you have taken toward LGBTQ inclusion.  We would love to include ” your story” on our website.  This is an additional way for the community to get an up close and personal perspective of your organization as well as celebrating and honoring your efforts!

E-mail your information to Mosaic’s Director, Bina Raskin. Here are some examples of Westchester Jewish institutions that have already done so:

Congregation Kol Ami Kol Ami of White Plains is committed to making their synagogue inclusive and welcoming to the congregation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) members family and friends. This is beautifully illustrated by the sermon given by Rabbi Tom Weiner.
New TINR logo - blackTemple Israel of New Rochelle’s Kulanu Committee works hard to make the synagogue inclusive and welcoming to the syngagogue’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) members family and friends. These efforts include hosting an annual Pride Shabbat Service, hosting speakers and conversations, creating gender neutral language in synagogue communications and holding a Marriage Equality Forum with community partners. They even have a rainbow flag on their homepage! In the spring of 2013, through collaboration with the LOFT LGBT Community Services Center of the Lower Hudson Valley, then Kulanu Committee Co-Chairs, Linda Barat and Sharon Gorman worked to bring the United States Holocaust Museum’s Traveling Exhibition, Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 to Temple Israel’s Goldstein Cultural Center.
SSDS alumna march with Dean Joel Davidson at NYC Pride. From left: Tali Zilberman, Robbie Barr class of 2011, Evan Werner class of 2011, Joel Davidson, Johnny Gottlieb, Adam Werner, Anna Meixler class of 2012

SSDS alumna march with Dean Joel Davidson at NYC Pride. From left: Tali Zilberman, Robbie Barr class of 2011, Evan Werner class of 2011, Joel Davidson, Johnny Gottlieb, Adam Werner, Anna Meixler class of 2012

Solomon Schechter School of Westchester is a K-12 Conservative Jewish day school with campuses in White Plains and Hartsdale, New York.  The school prides itself on being a welcoming and open school for students, families and staff members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  At the high school level, Schechter Westchester has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) group called the Rainbow Alliance that is open to members of the LGBT community and allies.  This group provides a safe space for students to discuss issues about gender and sexuality.  The school is open to gay and lesbian teachers, administrators and students, as well as openly transgender students.  This year, Schechter Westchester has been at the leading edge of positive change in support of transgender students through implementation of practices that welcome and support them.  Administrators, including deans (school counselors) and the principal, along with rabbis, psychologists and other adults, openly display LGBT-affirming signs and stickers in order to create a safe and welcoming space in the school.  In addition, the school presents sexuality in a thoughtful, sensitive  way through courses, lesson plans, speakers and faculty.

Congregation Bet Torah in Mount Kisco is a Conservative congregation committed to making their synagogue inclusive and welcoming, of the LGBTQ community and their family, friends and allies. This is illustrated beautifully by this sermon, given by Rabbi Aaron Brusso.
BESC_MainBeth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle, heartily welcomes LGBTQ families and individuals within Westchester’s Jewish community. The synagogue’s dynamic Keruv (“Inclusion”) Committee meets regularly to address the needs and desires of non-traditional individual and family members. Among other activities, Beth El is proudly co-sponsoring a weekend of learning with Rabbi Steven Greenberg, author of Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition.  Diverse members of every age come to Beth El for spirituality, learning, socialization and recreation. Whatever brings you to Beth El, you will see enthusiasm and love poured into all we do. Once here, you will find more than you expected – and you will feel very much at home.  Check us out at Please direct any inquiries to Executive Director Erica Leventhal by email ( or phone (914-235-2700 ext. 225)
untitleduntitleduntitledfacebooklogoCommunity Synagogue of Rye (CSR) is a warm, welcoming, and inclusive community. The Kulanu (“All of Us”) committee has been working on a variety of initiatives.  Mosaic rainbow stickers can be seen throughout the synagogue, and the teens are working as a group to decide where to hang some LGBTQ-themed posters.  A rainbow flag has been placed on the website, and when the new website launches, there will be an Inclusivity Statement. We are also planning our Pride Shabbat in June.  In partnership with Keshet and Mosaic, CSR is hosting a variety of trainings and workshops for faculty, students, and staff. CSR is excited to be co-sponsoring a weekend of learning with Rabbi Steven Greenberg, author of Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition. For any inquiries about Kulanu, please contact Pat Rind at You can find Community Synagogue’s website at
Pleasantville Community Synagogue is proud that its Rabbi, Mark Sameth, was amongst those who voted at the historic Central Conference of American Rabbis convention in 2000 held in Greensboro, North Carolina in favor of religious affirmation of same gender relationships. We support full inclusion of, and complete equality for members of the LGBTQ community. PCS (Joyful Judaism!) is proud that LGBTQ folks are not only members but leaders of our community!
Temple Israel Center of White Plains recently addressed LGBTQ issues as a part of Shabbat Acharei Mot. Rabbi Goldman’s compelling sermon can be read here.

Greenburgh Hebrew Center (GHC), lives our mission and vision statement, which currently reads in part, “Our GHC family welcomes and includes people from all walks of life and from many communities within Westchester County, singles and families – traditional, interfaith, blended and LGBT.”

Our LGBTQ members, including those who are out, participate fully in every aspect of synagogue life.  LGBTQ members read from the Torah and receive aliyot and other honors at our services.  LGBTQ members are also active leaders in congregational governance and social activities.

Our clergy is supportive of LGBTQ members.  Our clergy will perform a wedding or commitment ceremony for a Jewish same-sex couple and are available for lifecycle events for LGBTQ individuals and families (such as a baby naming). In addition, our clergy and staff are sensitive to LGBTQ issues, and available to discuss these issues in personal counseling with individuals, couples or families. Our rabbi is able to address any Halakhic (Jewish law) ramifications.  Further, our clergy is prepared to advocate for LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality.

Our community is committed to being not only inclusive, but welcoming.  Our membership forms as well as our school registration forms, are gender neutral and LGBTQ-inclusive.  (Indeed, they are also couple and children neutral.)  Our library contains materials on LGBTQ issues, and information about LGBTQ issues, activities and people can be seen elsewhere in our building.  Our print and internet publications and our website include images of and information about LGBTQ issues or people.

Our clergy and many of our staff have received training on LGBTQ inclusion.  We are in the process of expanding this to include training for our lay leadership too.  In this, as well as in everything else, we are continually striving to learn more and do more.


Color_sstte_logoScarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El in Scarsdale is a progressive Reform community serving all of Southern Westchester.  Diversity is the lifeblood of our 60 year old congregation.  Our members come from different towns, school districts, socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.  We warmly welcome those who are not Jewish, yet have chosen to accompany their partner or child on their Jewish journey.  We open our doors to all spiritual seekers who have a desire to learn more about Judaism.  And, of course, our diversity includes those of the LGBTQ community and their family, friends, and allies.  Clergy office doors are decorated with rainbow flag stickers to let the congregation know that our leaders are always committed to creating a safe space for everyone.  And every single page of our website proudly carries links and the rainbow flag insignias of Keshet and Mosaic, as we strive to do our part to connect the members of our community to the wider LGBTQ Jewish community of Westchester and beyond.  This sense of welcoming is illustrated by one of Rabbi Jeff Brown’s Rosh HaShanah sermons on the subject of gender roles/identity.



Woodlands Community Temple is a Reform Jewish congregation nestled in the woods of Greenburgh, New York (near White Plains, Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hastings, Irvington, and Tarrytown). Founded in 1966, we are a vibrant, resourceful, multigenerational community of modern Jews committed to creating a dynamic, innovative environment for all who wish to participate in Jewish life and ritual—regardless of age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Welcoming, outgoing, and member-run, Woodlands is a place that amply provides for the educational and spiritual needs of its membership while at the same time enlisting its congregants to do good works that benefit an ever more complicated world at large.

Our WCT clergy proudly officiate at same-sex weddings and regularly speak out for LGBT equality. We accept our families in all their diversity and encourage all members, from the youngest to the oldest, to express themselves and love one another.


BAS Horizontal Logo ProcessAt Bet Am Shalom Synagogue, we are dedicated to living our ideals as an inclusive community.   We warmly welcome visitors and members (and their children) who are out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.  Our rabbi performs weddings for Jewish same-sex couples, and we are pleased to have those ceremonies take place at our synagogue. Joyous occasions of same-sex couples/families are celebrated openly and inclusively (i.e. baby naming, aufruf, aliyot for both members of a couple).

In Torah La’am, our Hebrew School, we strive for our K-12 classes to be inclusive kehillot/communities, so that our students feel safe and supported as they ask questions and explore their own answers. With our older teens we think critically about ancient and modern Jewish texts on sexuality and discover ways to be advocates for LGBTQ teens in the Jewish community.  We work with Mosaic of Westchester and use resources to enrich our classes with inclusive materials. Our goal is to create and nurture a kehillah for our students in which they will care for and support one another.

This spring, our 11th and 12th graders are working with Mosaic of Westchester to organize and host a teen-led event at Bet Am Shalom for Jewish LGBTQ teens and allies in the New York area.


If you have any further questions or would like additional information, please contact Bina Raskin, Director, at


In writing to us about your Jewish institution, here are some of the things you might want to include:

  • Our clergy will perform a wedding for a Jewish same-sex couple.
  • Weddings/commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples are performed in our synagogue.
  • Joyous occasions of same-sex couples/families are celebrated openly and inclusively (i.e. baby naming, aufruf, aliyot for both members of a couple).
  • We offer LGBTQ specific programming, events, or services (movie night, a Pride Seder, a support group).
  • We have staff, leaders, or board members who are out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
  • We have students/members/parents who are out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.
  • We have a group to support LGBTQ students or members (such as a Gay-Straight Alliance or Inclusion Committee).
  • LGBTQ issues are incorporated into our educational programming/curricula.
  • We use LGBTQ-inclusive language on our membership or application materials such as “Parent 1/Parent 2” rather than “Mother/Father.”
  •  We participate in advocacy for LGBTQ rights (e.g. marriage equality).
  • Our anti-bullying training and/or materials address anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment.
  • We have a written non-discrimination policy that includes gender identity and/or expression.