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Ariel Zitny and  Ze'evi Berman present a 3-session workshop on gender and Judaism, Sundays April 4, 11 & 18, 2021 at 4:00 PM
Did you know the idea that there is more than just male and female has existed in Judaism from at least the time of the Mishnah (200 CE)? Come learn about the six genders in Judaism, and what our tradition can teach us about gender diversity and inclusion of people who don't fit into the gender binary.
Ariel Zitny (he/they) is a queer/trans rabbinical and education student at the Reform seminary, Hebrew Union College. Ariel has received a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. He has three pieces published in Rabbi Eger's collection Mishkan Ga'avah: Where Pride Dwells. Ariel is passionate about poetry, feminism, and cats. When he’s not working, studying, or thinking of ways to make Judaism more trans-inclusive, he enjoys watching Netflix and baking with his partner Ze'evi and their two cats.
Ze’evi Berman (they/them, ze/zem/zer) is a student at Hebrew Union College studying toward cantorial ordination and a masters of Jewish education. Ze’evi describes themself as queer, trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer. They hold a BA in Music from Bennington College. With roots in song leading and music education at URJ camps and NYC synagogues, Ze’evi believes in the power of communal prayer and song as a tool for social change. As one of the first out trans cantorial students, Ze’evi is passionate about shaping our Jewish communities and Jewish rituals to become places of belonging for trans and nonbinary Jews. In their free time, Ze’evi enjoys practicing handstands and baking challah. Ze’evi lives in Los Angeles with their partner Ariel and their two cats. 

About The Gender Diversity Task Force

Congregation Kol Ami strengthens its commitment to our LGBTQ+ community with our Gender Diversity Task Force part of the Tzedek (Justice) Council.  We are building on the historic focus of our congregation that has long been a center for equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Nonbinary and Gender Non-Conforming people.  
Our commitment is expressed in our policies and programs. From our celebration of LGBTQ Pride to Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance observances, our Gender Diversity Task Force continues to plan educational opportunities (such as film screenings, panel discussions, workshops, and Shabbat speakers) and brainstorm ways to enact policy changes and raise the awareness of our community members, friends, and the larger Jewish community.
One way we are committed to raising awareness is about the use and recognition of a person's pronouns and understanding that a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are not the same thing! 
The gender you are assigned at birth may or may not be accurate or match what your brain and heart come to know. Gender identity is one's innermost concept of self as a man, woman, a blend of both, or neither – how individuals understand themselves. A person's gender expression is how one presents their gender outwardly, which may include the clothes one wears, their haircut, mannerisms, body characteristics, and/or pronouns used. We cannot assume that we know someone's gender identity (or their pronouns) from the way that we perceive their gender expression to be. This is why using gender-neutral language for a person we do not know can be particularly useful.
Transgender individuals are those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.  Some transgender (or trans) people identify within the gender binary (man or woman) and some trans people experience their gender outside the gender binary and identify as nonbinary. Nonbinary is an umbrella term for those individuals that do not identify as exclusively a man or woman. Some common nonbinary identities include genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, bigender, gender neutral, and many others.
Sexual orientation is a distinct concept, which is related to how and to whom one experiences sexual and/or romantic attraction. Sexual orientation identities may include gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, or queer.
At Congregation Kol Ami, we honor and respect every individual's gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  We make every effort not to assume we know a person's story, including the many parts of their identities! There is great harm in misgendering a person. A great way to start is by introducing yourself with your name and pronouns, which can give space for others to feel able to share theirs. Watch this wonderful video featuring our Open Yad Council member, Eliana Ruben to help you learn more about the importance of respecting pronouns.

Eliana Rubin (she/they) is a part of our Open Yad Council! 

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Sun, April 18 2021 6 Iyyar 5781