Critical Minds, Compassionate Hearts

A Few Words from Bud

Bud Lichtenstein, Interim Head of School
I believe every human is to be treated with dignity. Here are my thoughts.
Quite simply, I believe every human is to be treated with dignity and kavod. I know that this simple value stems from growing up as a Jew – in particular, a Reform Jew. My parents and my teachers shared this commitment and modeled what it means to be truly inclusive. This summer, when I heard about Rashi and its core values, I knew that this would be a coming home of sorts for me. While I have carried the values of my childhood through other jobs, I love that I am called upon to use a Jewish lens at this school, at this moment in history.

I am proud that the Reform Jewish Movement has supported LGBTQ rights for years. Since the 1970’s, when both the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis passed resolutions affirming “the rights of homosexuals,” we have welcomed and celebrated people of all sexual orientation in our congregations and opposed laws that fail to uphold principles of equality for all.

Here’s another example. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which advocates for the Movement’s social justice and legislative priorities in Washington, D.C., advocates for the full inclusion and equality of transgender individuals under the law. Reform Movements camps and the Reform Movement youth group, the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), have taken steps over the past decade to become more inclusive of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. In 2015, the Union for Reform Judaism adopted a historic resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People affirming “the full equality, inclusion, and acceptance of people of all gender identities and gender expressions.

While progress has been made in bringing greater equality, too often transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are forced to live as second-class citizens in our society. This is a moment in history when Reform Jews (and all people of conscience) are asked to step up in Massachusetts. If you are interested in reading more on this issue, I direct you to https://www.freedommassachusetts.org/ and https://www.keshetonline.org/resources/tdor-events/#.W9GtfGJKhKN. You may also be interested in viewing our lecture from Rabbi Mike Moscowitz from when he spoke to our Middle School about gender identity and specifically his stalwart support of transgender and genderqueer people as it relates to Jewish practice.

As a school associated with the Reform Jewish Movement, we have a responsibility to add our voices in favor of the dignity of all. At Rashi, we teach our children that all are welcome in our tent.

*****Parts of this statement were directly quoted and/or adapted from CCAR, URJ, and RAC. They said it better than I could.
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