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HRC report: Half of Jewish groups embrace LGBT community

Jewish organizations in North America are opening their arms to the LGBT community, a new survey indicates.

HRC President Chad Griffin

Results of the first-ever Jewish Organization Equality Index, released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), show half of the 204 Jewish nonprofit organizations that were surveyed got the top score of “inclusion,” meaning they’re taking significant steps toward welcoming LGBT people and their families. By contrast, only 4 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies in HRC’s first-ever Corporate Equality Index, which rates employers on inclusion of LGBT workers, earned the top score.

Seventy-nine percent of the participating Jewish groups said they haven’t targeted the LGBT community for workplace recruitment and 59 percent said they haven’t conducted diversity training in the past three years.

The index is backed by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Morningstar Foundation, attorney Stuart Kurlander and an anonymous donor. The HRC report was issued at a session of the Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly in Baltimore.

“We are proud to help move the dialogue on LGBT inclusion forward in the Jewish community through this first-of-its-kind report,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a news release. “As times change, so do our places of worship and faith-based organizations. The Jewish Organization Equality Index sets a precedent for what we hope to see more faith-based communities do.”

HRC lobbies for LGBT rights.

Other findings of the survey for the Jewish Organization Equality Index include:

  • 73 percent of the groups have non-discrimination policies in place.
  • 66 percent of the groups actively reach out to the LGBT community to attract members or clients.
  • 33 percent of groups that offer youth programming have established anti-bullying policies.

Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, said: “We applaud the organizations that participated and are taking important steps to foster LGBT inclusion, but we still have a long way to go until LGBT Jews — indeed, all Jews — are embraced as full and vital members of the Jewish family in every aspect of communal life.”

In 2010, Schusterman called on all Jewish organizations to join her foundation in adopting non-discrimination hiring policies that mention sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.


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