TORAH & SEXUALITY
A Jewish learning series relating ancient texts to modern sex
Presented by GLOE – The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC
ABOUT THE TORAH & SEXUALITY SERIES
A partnership of GLOE – GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC and Sixth & I, this series explores topics in Judaism relating to sexual expression and identity, presented in a contemporary queer context by rabbis and other Jewish educators. Classes are held on the second Tuesday of each month. Open to all, regardless of gender expression, sexual identity, or ability. For accommodation requests, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Torah & Sexuality programs are fully inclusive of all, regardless of gender expression, sexual orientation, or ability. (For accommodation requests, please email email@example.com.)
UPCOMING TORAH & SEXUALITY PROGRAMS
January 8, 2019 || 7:00–8:00 PM || Sixth & I
The Divine Eroticism of Kabbalah & Jewish Mysticism
For centuries, the study of Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism—was off limits to almost everyone. It was thought to be far too powerful and too sexually charged to share with the masses. But why was it so secretive? What hidden powers did the ancient rabbis believe it had? And what power can learning it hold for us today?
In this class led by Rabbi Gil Steinlauf of the Hineni Fellowship, explore basic concepts from Kabbalah including teachings from the Zohar that provide spiritual insight and wisdom for living. Learn how Kabbalah can reveal the powerful and often moving erotic drama that underpins the stories and teachings of the Torah. No Hebrew background is necessary.
PREVIOUS TORAH & SEXUALITY PROGRAMS
(clicking class titles links to the respective source texts)
December 11, 2018
Due to its popularity earlier this year, we brought back this class that explores and reclaims the traditions of niddah, Jewish laws regarding the separation of menstruating women, to learn how to create meaningful boundaries for all couples—not just heteronormative relationships. Instructed by JoHanna Potts, Education Director and co-founder of The Jewish Studio.
November 13, 2018
Jewish tradition has long engaged with gender diversity and the idea of gender beyond a binary concept, but what does Judaism have to say about being transgender today? In a class led by Rabbi Rachel Ackerman of LGBTQ-affirming synagogue Temple Shalom, explore texts and various interpretations of the first adam (human being) as a framework for discussing current transgender issues.
April 17, 2018
It is often assumed that religious authorities are prudish, determined to suppress all sexual enjoyment. However, this isn’t necessarily the case in Judaism. Join the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Director of Jewish Engagement Darya Watnick and local Jewish educator Becca Benoff in an exploration of classical Jewish texts containing statements ancient rabbis have made about sex that might surprise you.
February 20, 2018
In honor of Purim, the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Director of Jewish Engagement Darya Watnick and local Jewish educator Becca Benoff led participants on a deep dive into Jewish text to uncover more about the biblical Queen Esther — who can arguably be considered an early feminist icon — and rabbinical teachings on the empowerment of female sexuality in Judaism. This class was sponsored by the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA).
January 16, 2018
This class will look at the traditions of niddah, Jewish laws regarding the separation of menstruating women, and explore how to create meaningful boundaries for all couples, not just heteronormative relationships. Instructed by JoHanna Potts, Education Director and co-founder of The Jewish Studio.
December 6, 2017
Since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have come to light, there has been a flood of further allegations against sexual perpetrators in all quarters of our society. It is time we acknowledge this problem openly as a community, and seek strength, insight and answers together. Rabbi Gil Steinlauf and Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes of The Brookings Institution led one of the first conversations convened by a Jewish communal institution on the current sexual harassment/assault issues proving to be cultural flashpoints around the world — together, we explored Jewish insights on this problem, acknowledged the challenges, and discussed ways of taking collective action to stop sexual abuse and protect potential victims in our community. A special Torah & Sexuality event.
October 17, 2017
In today’s world, we are often discussing the fluidity of gender, preferred pronouns, and educating other about these topics. During ancient times, the Rabbis also discussed gender in its various forms, and even identified several different genders in classical Judaism. The Edlavitch DCJCC’s Director of Jewish Engagement Darya Watnick and local Jewish educator Becca Benoff led a Torah study to delve into the multiple genders discussed throughout Jewish texts to learn what Judaism says about interpretations of gender.
September 19, 2017
The inaugural Torah & Sexuality class focused on “The Touchy Subject” — exploring the biblical and rabbinical texts that discuss masturbation in all of its forms. Led by the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Director of Jewish Engagement Darya Watnick and local Jewish educator Becca Benoff, class participants did a deep dive into text in order to fully grasp the reasoning behind common understandings around masturbation.