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A brief history of The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga'avah

The first gay and lesbian Jewish organisations in the world were formed in London and Los Angeles in 1972 and New York in early 1973. By 1975, lesbian and gay Jewish organisations were also active in San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Miami.

When the United Nations voted in 1975 to declare that 'Zionism equals racism', many gay and lesbian Jews felt that there should be a gay and lesbian response. A meeting was called in New York and it became a loose network of organisations.

In 1976, the first formal international meeting of gay and lesbian Jewish organisations was held in Washington, DC with representatives from Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Montreal, Toronto, and Tel Aviv to discuss common concerns and set in motion a way for gay and lesbian Jews to work together.

In 1977, New York hosted the Second International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jews with over 200 people attending. Subsequent conferences were held in Los Angeles in 1978 and Israel in 1979.

In 1980 in San Francisco, the World Congress was officially born with a Management Committee elected to run its affairs and the creation of By-Laws. Subsequent conferences were held in Philadelphia (1981), Los Angeles (1982), and Miami (1983). In 1983, the current structure of the World Congress, with officers and an Executive Director was voted into place. Also put in place in 1983, was a resolution to hold International Conferences every other year in the odd years and Regional Conferences in the even years. Since then, conferences have been held in Washington, DC (1985), Amsterdam (1987), Chicago (1989), San Francisco (1991), London (1993), New York City (1995), Dallas (1997), and New Jersey (2000).

The World Congress changed its name to The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga'avah by a mail-in ballot in February, 2001.

There are no plans for regional conferences in the Western Hemisphere in 2001, but a European/Israeli Regional Conference is planned for Munich in June, 2001. Please watch this website for further details.


About the World Congress

In brief for now (links and further info to be added)

About the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group

The Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, JGLG, was founded in 1972 when a small advert in "Gay News" attracted the astonishing total of 190 people to a public meeting called to set up the new organisation.

Since then the Group has gone from strength to strength; In 1993 we co-hosted the 13th International Conference of Gay & Lesbian Jews, and in March 1997 we hosted our Silver Jubilee Celebration weekend. Both events were attended by people from all over the world.

We are the longest established Jewish gay group in the world. Our membership is open to Jewish men and women who are gay, lesbian or bisexual and has a wide age range, including people from many different backgrounds, both religious and non-religious. We welcome many non-Jews and non-gay guests and although our Group is based in London we have many members living across the country.

Our Aims
To provide an atmosphere of friendship and support for Jewish gays, lesbians, bisexuals and their partners. Organise social, religious and informative events for our members and their guests. To act as ambassadors between the gay world and the Jewish world, trying to dispel ignorance and prejudice.

Why a Jewish Gay Group?
Although Jews and gays are both minority groups, gay people like others are sometimes guilty of anti-Semitism, and, on the other hand, although some Jewish organisations have recognised (and accepted) Jewish gays and lesbians, the Jewish community sometimes has limited understanding of what it means to be gay. Yet the two minorities have much in common and both face the hostility of extremist groups. Both Jews and gays have been objects of oppression by tyrants. Perhaps that's because both represent the innate right of the individual to be different.

Jewish gay men and lesbians frequently face a lack of understanding, and even hostility, when they come out to their parents and their wider family. Young gays and lesbians may be ostracised for not fitting into the expected pattern of family marriage and parenthood. This undermines previously warm family relationships. We offer a relaxed and supportive environment for all ages.

Our Activities
First Wednesday of the month - women's restaurant night
Last Tuesday of the month - men's pub night
Last Friday of the month - 'Chavura' (Hebrew for meeting of friends) to celebrate the start of Shabbat. The services are taken by Rabbis and are followed by a buffet
Plus celebrations to mark the Jewish Festivals e.g. Seder night for Pesach, social events for Purim, Rosh Hashana and Chanuka.
For these similar reasons our members find that the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group provides a supportive and helpful environment.

We want the Jewish Gay & Lesbian group to be your alternative family for Jewish gays, lesbians, bisexuals, their lovers, friends, and relations.

Contact Us:

BM JGLG, London, England, WC1N 3XX
Telephone:  +44 (0)20 8952 0137 
e-mail:[email protected]



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