The Gay Center
A Wider Bridge
This community based start up focuses on bringing American LGBTQ people into meaningful and thoughtful connection with Israel and LGBTQ Israelis. “Our programs create opportunities for education, engagement and experience, and include travel, speakers and discussions, cultural events, online resources, advocacy and philanthropy,” they state. A Wider Bridge brings Israeli LGBTQ leaders, activists and artists to the U.S. to talk about their work, and share their stories of hope. “We bring Israeli and American Jewish and LGBTQ community leaders together to learn from each other, to share their best practices and build lasting collaborative relationships.”
Maavarim translates to “passageways” – so it’s no surprise that this community organization’s goal is to empower members of the trans community, facilitating personal and social change. According to a recent study, gender variant people make up 6% of the worldwide population – yet the lack of knowledge, the backwards education and the clueless healthcare system often ignores their needs. Not in Israel: “We provide the support needed for transgender and gender variant people and their loved ones in their daily lives and their journey. We build community resources and knowledge through research, partnerships and training,” they say.
The Jerusalem Open House
The JOH for Pride and Tolerance is an activist-run organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and their allies, founded in 1997. The group’s budget comes entirely from private donations, and their greatest challenge is to open a dialogue about the “heterosexualist” traditions and misconceptions in social institutions, including family, school, and religious establishments. “This challenge is especially formidable in Jerusalem, a city of traditional values and deeply-rooted religious commitments, where we offer religious programming, Shabbat and holiday services,” they say. The center holds a social group for Orthodox gay men and connects with LGBTQ synagogues abroad.