The Rainbow of Jewish Life

By | Nov 13, 2012

More than 50 percent of Jewish non-profits are taking “significant steps” to welcome members of the LGBT community, according to a study released yesterday.

The Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI) was conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. Released at the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual General Assembly, which takes place this year in Baltimore, the study is being billed as the first-ever index of inclusion within a faith-based community.

More than 2,000 organizations were invited to take part in the survey, with just 10 percent participation—a rate that the group says is consistent with similar indices.

According to the findings, more than three quarters of the participating organizations said they have not targeted the LGBT community in workplace recruitment efforts. Some 59 percent have not completed any diversity or inclusion training in recent years.

“More work is needed to understand how representative these findings are across the broader Jewish communal sector,” according to the group.

The study was initiated by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, The Morningstar Foundation, and other donors. In 2010, Schusterman, a leading philanthropist, called on Jewish organizations to adopt non-discrimination hiring policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity.

“This report marks a milestone in the Jewish community,” Idit Klein, executive director of Keshet, a Jewish LGBT organization. “We hope it will galvanize our leaders to make LGBT inclusion a key priority, and we invite organizations at any stage of inclusion to reach out to us for training, resources and assistance to make our community a home for all.”


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