At its November convention, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) voted almost unanimously to approve a resolution affirming transgender rights. Most of the 5,000 attendees at the meeting stood up and applauded after the resolution passed.
The resolution on transgender and gender non-conforming people affirms the commitment of URJ to the full equality, inclusion and acceptance of all gender identities and gender expressions. It will steer congregations and advocacy groups of the nation’s largest movement in Judaism. It is a continuation and expansion of a tradition of inclusion in the movement. A one-page pamphlet is offered to assist congregations to implement the goals of the resolution. Some specific steps suggested in the resolution include calling on local Reform communities to pursue education about gender identity and expression and to make an effort to provide gender-neutral bathrooms. Gender-neutral language should be used in prayers, forms and other materials when possible. The policy also calls on congregations and organizations to refer to people of all gender identities by their chosen names and to work with transgender rights groups to “spread awareness and increase knowledge of issues related to gender identity”. Training in cultural competency for school employees may be offered.
Reform Judaism is the most liberal of the religion’s major wings; it emphasizes adaptability to the modern world rather than strict adherence to ancient rules. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, More than 6 million Jews live in the United States and more than a third of those identify with the Reform movement.