Text of the press release follows:
Temple Beth El in Stamford Forms LGBTQIA Group
Group to reach out to Jewish LGBTQIA community in the area
STAMFORD, CT — February 23, 2015: Temple Beth El, an egalitarian Conservative synagogue located in Stamford, Connecticut, has formed a group specifically focused on the Jewish LGBTQIA community located in Fairfield and neighboring Westchester Counties.
The group’s goal is to create a welcoming environment in which the Jewish LGBTQIA community can socialize, celebrate Jewish life, learn together and share experiences. Membership in Temple Beth El is not required, and people of all ages are welcome to the group.
“Inclusivity has always been a hallmark of Temple Beth El,” said Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, the synagogue’s religious leader. “We want to remove the sense of alienation that Jews in the LGBTQIA community have experienced in many synagogues when seeking acceptance and a spiritual home.”
According to the rabbi, this is the first formal LGBTQIA group started by a synagogue in the area.
“My partner Christopher and I recently joined Temple Beth El for many reasons,” said Richard Heimler. “One of them was the sincere welcome and inclusiveness we immediately felt from Rabbi Hammerman and the congregation.”
The group is holding its first get-together on Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 pm. For more information about the event, contact Richard by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Temple Beth El
Temple Beth El is an egalitarian Conservative synagogue based in Stamford, Conn., with members from all generations and backgrounds. Since its formation in 1920, it has served as a driving force in the growth of Stamford’s Jewish population and culture. Visit www.tbe.org for more information.
The abbreviation LGBTQIA has evolved (and is still evolving) to represent the sexual orientation and gender identities that exist in today’s world. It is a more inclusive term than “lesbian and gay,” the L and the G, which was once used to lump all sexual minorities together. The B and the T stand for bisexual and transgender. The Q can stand for “questioning” or “queer,” the latter once a derogatory term. The I is for “intersex” and the A for “asexual,” characterized by the absence of sexual attraction. The use of the abbreviation has gained traction, particularly on college campuses.