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Survey of Synagogue Leaders Shows Support for LGBT Inclusion—But Programs Are Lacking


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March 6, 2009

A comprehensive survey of Jewish synagogues in the US revealed that 73% of rabbis and synagogue leaders think they are welcoming to gays and lesbians—but only 33 percent of these respondents reported having LGBT-related programs or to using inclusive language in their mission statements.

The survey sponsored by the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew College and Jewish Mosaic, reached out to more than 3,000 congregations and received 1,221 respondents from the Reform and Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. The results were rolled out at conferences at the end of February in New York and Los Angeles. 

Among the rabbis who responded, more than 70 percent expressed a desire for diversity training to be offered at rabbinical seminaries in order to better reach out to transgender and gay congregants. Synagogue leaders who reported having LGBT programs in place identified marriage equality events as most common. Many rabbis (41%) credit an increase of members to such programs and only 2% reported a decrease.