Our Projects

LGBTQ & Orthodox Community

Grp DiscussionDuring our weekend retreats, LGBT individuals experience a traditional Shabbat filled with davening, workshops, and leadership training programs. For many, these weekends are the first time where all parts of who they are can co-exist in perfect harmony. People make connections that they cannot make anywhere else. For many, these weekends serve as spiritual lifelines where they can be who they are, meet others like them and create a community that extends beyond the weekend. Join us for the National Eshel Shabbaton, the midwest retreat, and regional gatherings.

Educational Initiatives and Eshel Speaker Bureau Training (ESB)

AaronPotek-300x152At Eshel we help create inclusive community in Orthodox settings. The way we convey our message to traditional communities is through telling our stories, opening up hearts and minds to create a more inclusive environment. These stories build understanding and an opening for more discussion. We train participants and allies to share their stories with friends and family in the Orthodox world in the most effective way possible. We also build allies wherever we go who are able to further our mission of creating inclusive Orthodox community.

Support for Orthodox and Traditional Parents of LGBT Children

IMG_20140309_142448-300x225Orthodox parents of LGBT children often face challenges similar to that of their children. Some parents feel they have to “come out” to their rabbis and communities after learning about their children’s sexual and gender identity. They fear being ostracized, sometimes they fear they cannot go back to their own synagogues and be open with their friends and communities. In order to support parents so that they can continue to live their lives and be the best parents they can be, we run a phone-in peer led support group for Orthodox parents of LGBT children. We also run a retreat for Orthodox parents and relatives.