This just in from our friends at Nehirim:
As we promised in our June newsletter, we have some exciting news to share with you: Nehirim and NUJLS, the National Union of Jewish LGBT Students, are merging! NUJLS will become a project of Nehirim beginning today, and Sasha T. Goldberg will be getting a promotion to Nehirim’s “Associate Director and Director of Student Programs.” This merger is a reflection of our longtime collaboration with NUJLS (Sasha is currently its board president, and NUJLS has been a cosponsor of the Queer Shabbaton New York since its inception), Nehirim’s longtime student programming, and our commitment to providing programming and community to LGBT Jews (plus partners and allies) throughout the country.
This is exciting news, and a sign of more collaboration and coordination to come in the LGBT Jewish world. Below is the official press release announcing the merger, and a copy of the letter Sasha is sending today to the NUJLS mailing list. I look forward to seeing many of you at Nehirim East this weekend, and to working with the NUJLS student programming advisory board and NUJLS student leadership. Mazal tov to all of us!
– Jay Michaelson, Executive Director, Nehirim
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nehirim and NUJLS, Two of the Largest National LGBT Jewish Organizations, To Merge
Move unites largest provider of national programming for LGBT Jewish community with vibrant student organization
(New York), (NY), (June 1, 2010) — Two of the largest organizations serving the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jewish community have today merged into one. Nehirim, which runs retreats and other programs for GLBT Jews, and NUJLS, the National Union of Jewish LGBTIQQ Students, will combine operations effective June 1. Nehirim is the largest national provider of community programming for GLBT Jews, and NUJLS was one of the first national GLBT Jewish organizations, founded in 1997.
“This is a natural combination of two strong organizations,” said Jay Michaelson, the executive director of Nehirim who was recently recognized on the ‘Forward 50’ list of the fifty most influential Jewish leaders in America. “NUJLS is the leader in programming for GLBT Jewish students, and Nehirim is the leader in programming for GLBT Jews in general.”
As a result of the merger, Sasha T. Goldberg, Nehirim’s Assistant Director since 2007 and the current Board President of NUJLS, will become Nehirim’s Associate Director and Director of Student Programming. A new “Student Programming Advisory Board” will be created, with representatives from NUJLS’s former board of directors and student activists. Nehirim will run the popular NUJLS student conference, together with student leaders.
Said Goldberg, “Building on the strength and history of NUJLS and the incredible NUJLS students, I am greatly looking forward to growing the student programming at Nehirim to provide a national, cohesive, and vibrant hub of Jewish life for each Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Jewish student.”
For the first year of the merger, the NUJLS name will be retained, but as “NUJLS, a project of Nehirim.” The organizations will combine their programmatic, leadership, administrative, and financial operations.
David Levy, a NUJLS board member, said “This merger enables NUJLS to better fulfill its mission, and to develop the next generation of Jewish LGBT student leaders. We are excited to be part of Nehirim!”
Founded in 2003, Nehirim is a pluralistic, independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is supported by the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, and the Jewish Community Foundation of San Francisco, as well as a network of individual supporters. For more information, please visit our website www.nehirim.org.
For questions or excerpt and interview requests, please contact:
Marlene Rachelle, Communications Manager
June 1, 2010
Dear Students, Friends, and Colleagues—
I’m writing to you with some very exciting news. Nehirim and NUJLS, the National Union of Jewish LGBT Students, are merging! This merger is a reflection of Nehirim’s longtime collaboration with NUJLS, and our shared commitment to providing programming and community to LGBT Jews (plus partners and allies) throughout the country. I am writing this letter to share my joy and excitement with you, as well as to share a little bit about my vision—and to ask for yours in return.
This month I celebrate my third year of working as the Assistant Director of Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality–and there is a lot to celebrate. I am proud to say that the past three years at Nehirim have been packed with innovation and growth; we have had a 200% expansion on programming and reach since 2007, and today we expand again by merging with NUJLS, the National Organization for LGBTQQI Jewish Students. This also marks an expansion for me, personally: I will step into the position of the Associate Director at Nehirim, and also into the position of Director of Student Programming.
As many of you already know, this merger and my new position at Nehirim arrive after having spent the past eleven months serving as the NUJLS Board President while Vanessa “Vinny” Prell continued her last year as the Executive Director. This has been a privilege and a pleasure both personally and professionally—having come out at fourteen and founded the first GSA at my own high school, LGBT student issues have always been near and dear to my heart—and having the opportunity to provide professional leadership and commitment to an organization for which I care deeply has proved rewarding and inspiring. Both personally and professionally, I am honored to serve as the Director of Student Programming in this new merger.
It is my ultimate vision that the Nehirim-NUJLS merger will continue in this theme of expansion: Building on the strength and history of NUJLS and the incredible NUJLS students, I am greatly looking forward to growing the student programming at Nehirim to provide a national, cohesive, and vibrant hub of Jewish life for each Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Jewish student.
Can I count on your help in this vision? I hope that you will be excited to help foster the opportunity for the next generation of LGBT Jewish students to be engaged leaders with a rich, proud history of Jewish and LGBT lives and identities. Perhaps it’s been a while since you have been involved with Nehirim or NUJLS, perhaps you are hearing about Nehirim or NUJLS for the first time, or perhaps you have been a regular to both organizations—either way, I invite you to re-engage and share your vision with me, as well. In the coming weeks and months, I hope to speak with many of you about your ideas and about how you might like to be involved with LGBT Jewish Students and LGBT Jewish Student programming.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the many inspired and inspiring LGBT Jewish Students who have already been involved with NUJLS, many of whom I have been fortunate enough to meet–and who will continue to provide the centermost heart and vision of Jewish LGBT Student life. To the students, particularly: I look forward to more! Thank you also to Vinny, who is both a colleague and a trusted friend, for her years of hard work and for building a beautiful foundation. Last but not least, thank you also to the Board for all of your thoughtful consideration in these many months of transition.
Happy Pride Month to each you—I look forward to connecting and working together as we usher in a new decade of LGBT Jewish Student life.
All my very best,
Sasha T. Goldberg
Associate Director of Nehirim, Director of Student Programming
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