We have often wondered about the development of the ubiquitous rainbow as a way of identifying an institution or an organization, or even a commercial enterprise, as “gay-friendly.” Could we do the same for Big Tent Judaism, JOI’s advocacy platform for fostering an inclusive Jewish community? What are the words and images that would indicate an open Jewish community, particularly for those on the periphery, where everyone will feel welcomed and embraced?
Since we use the following text a lot in our work, we debated whether its application for this purpose would be appropriate: “The stranger that lives with you shall be to you like the native, and you shall love him [or her] as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34). We even considered just using the reference “Leviticus 19:34” and thereby encouraging others to check out www.BigTentJudaism.org for more information. In the end, we decided on “All are Welcome” since it really expresses what we feel and what we wanted to communicate. And it is working. How do we know? We see the sticker that we developed and give members of the Big Tent Coalition on the doors and windows of institutions, as well as on their websites. BBYO, Beth El Synagogue of Baltimore, and Congregation Knesset Israel of Bound Brook, NJ are just a few of the organizations that are now proud members of the coalition. And we are thrilled.
If your institution wants to become part of the Big Tent Coalition, click here for details. We look forward to hearing from you!