Chairs: Heshie Zinman and Ellen Poster

Equality Act:

The Equality Act (H.R. 5/S.393) recently passed the House of Representatives. Now, it is time for the Senate to guarantee federal civil rights protections to all LGBTQ people. Please urge the Senate to swiftly pass the Equality Act. 

Currently, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender non-conforming (LGBTQ) people face discrimination in a wide variety of areas. Aligned with our Reform Jewish values, The Equality Act will address discrimination against LGBTQ people by amending existing civil rights laws to include protections based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

Call your Senator's offices or The Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or call SAGE at (833) 774-0717 to get connected to your Senators automatically. Write your Senators or use the line on the The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism website to contact your Senators on the Equality Act.

Contact Chip Ellis and Heshie Zinman for information.

About pRiSm:

The mission of pRiSm is to strengthen Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Allied (LGBTQIA) life and identity at RS and in the world. pRiSm strives to create an inclusive congregation through education, advocacy, and celebration.

Dr. Rachel Levine, now the Assistant Secretary for Health, Dept. of Health and Human Services, held a program on “A Conversation about Adolescent Health, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity” in April 2018. Because of that program, many of our pRiSm members asked “what can we do at Rodeph Shalom to make it more inclusive? What can we do to make it better?” An Audit Committee formed and the following changes have been made to create a more inclusive community.

  • All bathrooms are gender-neutral and allows for LGBTQ members and guests, as well as our RS community to feel safe using an RS restroom
  • Rainbow mezuzot are affixed to the Green Street entrance and the Beth Ahavah Historical Sacred Space. The installation of these mezuzot communicates to our RS community, including LGBTQ members and guests, that LGBTQ individuals are welcome and safe at Rodeph Shalom.
  • The Beth Ahavah Historical Sacred Space was recently dedicated in May 2019. Congregation Beth Ahavah was founded in 1975 as the only Reform LGBTQ synagogue in Philadelphia.Its services were held in this room from 2005 until its merger with Congregation Rodeph Shalom in 2015. Articles and memorabilia adorn the walls of this sacred space.

Education, Advocacy, and Celebration:

pRiSm works to create an inclusive community is through education, advocacy, and celebration. Over the years, pRiSm has welcomed guest speakers such as Dr. Rachel Levine, Sarah McBride, Brian Sims, Malcolm Kenyatta, and other notable members of the LGBTQ community who have shared their stories and raised awareness about LGBTQ issues. pRiSm has also celebrated the LGBTQ community through Pride Shabbat, the Beth Ahavah Historical Sacred Space dedication, and Outfest. 

Upcoming Events:

pRiSm Book Club: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Thursday, April 8 at 7:00pm
Please join us on Thursday, April 8 at 7:00pm for a discussion of Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert.  Our conversation will be facilitated by Judah Calkins.  While this book is categorized as Young Adult, the issues it raises, including merged families, friendship, parenting and loyalty, are ones that pRiSm members of all ages can appreciate.  Its characters explore their sexual orientation, and cope with the challenges of physical disability and mental illness.  This enormously readable novel tells a difficult but uplifting story.  We are proud to present it as the first book of our new book club! 

Please RSVP here and join us on Zoom here

Torah Queeries
Every other Tuesday, January 26 - June 1, 6-7 PM over Zoom
Back by popular demand! Torah Queeries returns with Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell for 10 sessions from January to June.

Join us for some fascinating Torah study through a queer lens. How do our beloved yet often problematic texts help us make ethical decisions and honor the sacredness of every human being? No Hebrew or text study background is necessary. Rabbi Elwell, PhD. has been studying Torah for fifty years. She was a contributor to Torah Queeries (2009) and the Queer Bible Commentary (2006). Rabbi Elwell also served as Poetry Editor for The Torah: A Womens' Commentary (2008). Please RSVP here.  Torah Queeries sessions will be recorded and archived here on the pRiSm webpage for those who are unable to attend.

Register here.  Click here to watch the Torah Queeries playlist.

Previous Events:

Click here to watch our Fall 2020 Torah Queeries sessions

pRiSm Reflections:

January/February Bulletin: "Trans Talk"
March/April Bulletin: "Transgender Day of Visibility"
June Bulletin: "Pride Month"
March/April Bulletin: "International Transgender Day of Visibility"


Lindsay Shuster reads Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk

A Special Video for Hanukkah 

Read a Hanukkah story with our pRiSm (LGBTQ+) Connection Group and light the menorah for Hanukkah!