Welcoming LGBTQ+ Members

At Anshe Emet, we intentionally work to create an environment where all Jews feel welcome and celebrated for who they are.

We embrace the entire spectrum of our Jewish community, and welcome interfaith families and members of any age, race, background, ethnicity, ability, marital or family status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

Keep reading to find out how we’re working to make you feel at home. If you have additional needs or concerns, please reach out. Specific contact information is included below.

Visibility and Inclusion Efforts

Anshe Emet has partnered with Keshet, a national organization working for full LGBTQ+ equality in Jewish life, to ensure our commitment to full LGBTQ+ inclusion is reflected in our actions, programming, rituals, personnel and physical space.

  • Periodic training for clergy, staff and lay leaders on LGBTQ+ inclusion
  • Specific LGBTQ+ programming, events and groups
  • Openly LGBTQ+ people are involved in the synagogue as leaders, members, students, parents and staff
  • Inclusive language on all membership forms
  • All-gender/unisex bathroom

“We have found the Anshe Emet Community to be thoughtful, caring, and truly committed to the highest ideals and ethical traditions of Judaism. It is a house of worship with kavanah and joy, and a house of learning with inquisitive minds, a place for comfort and solace, and a place for celebration and play. It is also a place where all families are not only welcomed but embraced. We are proud to be members of the Anshe Emet Community! Anshe Emet is our home. The perfect place to raise our family.”

—Debra Stark & Jessica Choplin

Rituals and Life-cycle Events

We celebrate with all members as their life-cycle events and other milestones are shared with the congregation. Our clergy works with individuals and families to mark occasions in ways that are both personally and Jewishly meaningful.

  • Same-sex weddings or commitment ceremonies, performed inside or outside the synagogue
  • Aufrufs and aliyot for both members of a same-sex couple
  • Adoption and baby-naming ceremonies
  • Naming ceremonies for those undergoing gender transitions
  • Gender-neutral aliyot

Contact Liz Berke at eberke@ansheemet.org with questions.

Pride Shabbat

In honor of the LGBTQ community both inside and outside Anshe Emet Synagogue, we have been celebrating Pride Shabbat for several years, timed to coincide with Chicago’s Pride Parade.

Speakers and guests have included:

  • Noam Sienna, editor of A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969
  • Abby Stein, transgender writer, educator and activist
  • Bernard Cherkasov, executive director of Cradles to Crayons

“When we moved to Chicago as a family of three, were delighted by the welcoming and affirming atmosphere of Anshe Emet. As our family grew, so did our connection to Anshe Emet, the clergy, the young family programming, and the dedication to practicing and fostering Jewish values. We are proud to be members of the Anshe Emet community and the synagogue’s commitment to inclusion, equity, and justice.”

— Brian Grossman & Malcolm Haar

“Anshe Emet has instilled me with the Jewish values to recognize the inherent value of all human life, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. This community has made me feel accepted in all of my identities and has provided an unconditional safe space for me to explore who I am as a young Jewish person.”

—Emma Canter

“As a gender expansive person, I felt not just welcomed, but embraced throughout the JBC program. Each instructor and rabbi met me with kavod, openness, and acceptance, which made me feel comfortable bringing my most authentic, truest self to my experience here at AES. In fact, Rabbi D’ror Chankin-Gould is officiating my wedding this spring!”

—Ezra Hunter