“Radical Hospitality Creates Safe Space” is among the core values of Tribe 12, a dynamic Jewish Federation-supported group connecting Jews in their 20s and 30s with meaningful Jewish experiences.
True to its code, Tribe 12 serves as a radically hospitable home for Jewish “tribes” of all stripes. Whether helping to group people by interest (there’s a fantasy football tribe and an a cappella tribe) or identity (like the women’s tribe or Hispanic and Latino tribe), Tribe 12 prioritizes making everyone feel welcome.
And since 2005, Tribe 12 has hosted the region’s most vibrant and visible young Jewish LGBTQ group.
“Tribe 12 tries to find a community for everyone,” explained Rachel Abramowitz, Tribe 12 engagement associate. “So this tribe is working to do that — to nurture and embrace the individual while also building community.”
A network of about 500 members, Tribe 12 LGBTQ events have included Shabbat potluck dinners, an annual LGBTQ seder at the William Way Community Center and the always well-attended Philly Pride Shabbat. A newer project is Lip Service, an interfaith collaboration with local groups Out Muslim and Out Catholics.
“So, a Jew, a Muslim and a Catholic walk into a gay bar — that’s literally what happened,” member Ali Garber said.
A new, signature program supported by Tribe 12 and Eshel Philly is aimed at connecting LGBTQ Orthodox and traditional Jews.
On the first Wednesday of every month, an “Orthodox and LGBTQ+ Meetup” is hosted at the William Way LGBT Center in Center City. From 7-9 p.m., an intimate and confidential setting is available for LGBTQ+ Orthodox, Ortho-curious and formerly Orthodox Jews to meet and to mingle. The most recent meeting was on July 3.
Israel Gay Youth: Welcoming All
Earlier this month, more than 250,000 people (including Neil Patrick Harris) filled the Tel Aviv streets for its famous Pride Parade — a reminder of the city’s status as a welcoming home for LGBTQ people, and of the cultural and legal strides LGBTQ Israelis have made toward greater acceptance and equality. However, for many LGBTQ Israelis, daunting challenges still exist.
That’s where Israel Gay Youth comes in: an Israeli nonprofit that works within formal and informal education systems to embrace, teach and support LGBTQ Israelis between the ages of 13 and 23.
“We want Israeli youth to feel welcome and loved no matter who they are,” said Liana Meirom, international secretary of IGY.
To do so, the organization teaches courses on gender and sexuality in more than 40 classrooms and hosts more than 45 social groups to establish safe environments where teens and young adults can freely express their sexual orientation and gender identity. IGY’s leadership teams also help prepare the next generation of leaders with the skills they’ll need to continue developing Israel as a nation of equality.
IGY is the only organization serving all LGBTQ Israelis — regardless of religion, culture or geography — and hosts programs across the entire region. They also operate four youth centers in Tel Aviv, Afula, Rishon LeZion and Petah Tiqwa, helping young LGBTQ individuals socialize and find support in challenging moments.
Visit awiderbridge.org/israel-gay-youth for more information on Israel Gay Youth.