Chairs: Heshie Zinman and Ellen Poster

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.

Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dr. Rachel Levine 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:

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

Previous Events:

Torah Queeries: Reading the weekly Parashat from an LGBTQ Perspective taught by Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell



pRiSm Reflections:

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


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!


World AIDS Day

Join us in viewing the Virtual Quilt Exhibition
We also observe World AIDS Day by viewing panels of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. This year, we can see panels of the Quilt through a Virtual Quilt Exhibition. The exhibition is free to the public now through March 31, 2021. Click here to see the virtual display.  

Learn about The Reunion Project
One of the hosts for the Virtual Quilt Exhibition is The Reunion Project, of which pRiSm co-chair Heshie Zinman is a national board member.  Here is some information about The Reunion Project.

Display Host: 
The Reunion Project is the national alliance for HIV/AIDS long-term survival. We are a building a diverse network of local and national HIV advocates, providers, and researchers, honoring the power of sharing our unique stories. Through in-person and online events we are creating lasting connections and invite you to join us. Thank you. Visit our website, The Reunion Project, and use the “Connect with us!” link to subscribe.

We hope you find attending Shabbat services on December 4th, seeing the close-up photograph of the BA Quilt block, viewing the Virtual Quilt Exhibition and learning more about the Reunion Project meaningful ways to observe World AIDS Day.