Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group
The Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group (JGLG), was founded in 1972 when a small advert in Gay News attracted the astonishing total of 190 people to a public meeting called to set up the new organisation. Since then the Group has gone from strength to strength. In 1993 it co-hosted the 13th International Conference of Gay & Lesbian Jews, and in October 2002 it held its 30th Anniversary Celebration weekend. People from all over the world attended both events.
The group is the longest established Jewish LGBT group in the world. Membership is open to Jewish men and women who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, including people from many different backgrounds. Non-Jewish partners are welcome at all events, and non-LGBT and non-Jewish guests to certain events, and although the group is based in London there are many members living across the country.
The membership covers a fairly broad age range, and in early 2009 Young JGLG was launched to promote the inclusion of the under-35 Jewish LGBT community. They are represented on the main JGLG committee and some events are exclusive to the younger membership.
JGLG is primarily a social rather than religious group, and most of its religious events tend to follow Progressive/Reform traditions.
JGLG is affiliated to the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Jews and works collaboratively with other organisations to ensure a breadth of opportunities for the Jewish LGBT community.
- To provide an atmosphere of friendship and support for Jewish lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and their partners.
- To organise social, religious and informative events for members and their guests.
- To act as ambassadors between the LGBT and Jewish worlds, trying to dispel ignorance and prejudice.
Why a Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group?
Because Jews and LGBT are minority groups it is important that there is space to come together to celebrate.
Why is the group so successful? Probably because it offers a relaxed and supportive environment for all ages, where the Jewish LGBT community has the opportunity to meet and socialise with like-minded people. It can be reassuring to meet people with similar shared experiences. JGLG aims to act as an alternative family for Jewish lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender, their lovers, friends and relations.
Young JGLG runs regular events and provides social opportunities for LGBT Jews aged 18-35. Events include drinks in Soho, gigs at central London venues, pub quizzes and evenings out at the cinema. Pride events are organised every summer, working in close partnership with other groups. Young JGLG is always open to new ideas and welcomes anyone in this age group who is Jewish and LGBT. It can be found online at its dedicated Facebook pages, which the co-ordinators keep up-to-date with the latest information about forthcoming events.
- Regular separate women's and men’s events such as restaurant nights
- Co-sponsorship of the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
- Summer weekends by the sea with optional social and Shabbat events
- Various mixed social events such as
- Fireworks/Israeli Independence Day/Valentine’s Day parties
- Music events
- Celebration of religious festivals e.g. Seder night and social events for Purim, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah
- Last Friday of the month - 'Chavurah' (Hebrew for meeting of friends) to celebrate the start of Shabbat. The services are taken by gay or lesbian Rabbis or rabbinical students and are followed by a ‘bring a veggie dish’ buffet. Sometimes there is a guest speaker to lead post-supper discussions on a specific theme.
JGLG events provide a safe, confidential and relaxed atmosphere and for these reasons members find that JGLG provides a supportive and helpful environment. Most events are exclusive to members and their partners, however some are open to friends and family.
Special family-friendly events are arranged for Jewish LGBT parents and their children.These are advertised in the JGLG Newsletter and on the website in advance of the event date.
- Out of the Shadows edited by Tony Walton, Chapter 9, "Jewish Gay Groups"; also discusses a short-lived earlier Jewish gay group.