Nehirim, the LGBTQ Jewish Spiritual Initiative, has announced a new youth mentoring program. Connecting older LGBTQ Jews with younger ones is apparently a first of its kind.
Below is the press release sent out about the new program. Interestingly, I often find myself (still on the youth side of this equation I suspect) mentoring older folks who grew up and came out (or didn’t) in a time when being out in High School or Shul just wasn’t an option. While I certainly had my struggles, I was able to have them because the world was ready for it (because of those that came before me.)
So, once again, kudos to Nehirim for another promising program. I look forward to seeing how it all works out.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gay/Lesbian Group Launches Dramatic New Mentoring Program
First of its kind program, directed by Rabbi Jacob Staub, will
“give GLBT youth the gay Jewish families they never had”
New York, NY, April 14, 2008. Nehirim, a national organization that creates spiritual and cultural
community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) Jews, partners, and allies, announced
today that is has launched a first-of-its-kind mentoring program for GLBT Jews in their late teens and
twenties. Called Shalshelet (which means “chain”), the program is designed, in the words of Nehirim
Executive Director Jay Michaelson, “to give GLBT youth the gay Jewish families they never had.”
“Jews are very good about providing role models and guides to leading a Jewish life,” said Michaelson.
“But gay and lesbian youth often have to find their own way.” Michaelson added that while many GLBT
youth may seek elders, they are often justifiably fearful of sexual predation.
Shalshelet will be directed by Rabbi Jacob J. Staub, a professor at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical
College in Philadelphia, where he served as academic vice president for seventeen years, At RRC, Rabbi
Staub founded and directs the first program in Jewish Spiritual Direction ever established at a rabbinical
Said Rabbi Staub, “Both elders and youth benefit from this relationship. Just as many GLBT youth are
looking for guides, so many older GLBT people, especially those without children, are eager to share their
wisdom with a younger generation.”
All participants are thoroughly screened by Rabbi Staub and Zvi Bellin, Nehirim’s Director of Outreach,
to ensure safety and compliance with the program’s rules. Mentors commit to a monthly conference call
with Rabbi Staub, and at least one monthly phone call plus email contact with their mentees.
Founded in 2003, Nehirim is a nondenominational, independent organization under the fiscal sponsorship
of the Jewish Funds for Justice, and supported by the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. For more information, visit www.nehirim.org/shalshelet.
MORE INFORMATION: Sasha T. Goldberg, Assistant Director
Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality (www.nehirim.org) creates
authentic spiritual and cultural community for GLBT Jews, partners, and allies. .
Nehirim is supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family
Foundation, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, and is under the fiscal
sponsorship of the Jewish Funds for Justice.