ABOUT US > WHO WE ARE
In the 1990s, a new wave of transgender Jewish people and our allies began to create Jewish resources that speak to our lives. We wanted rituals and prayers that included and affirmed us; we wanted to find and create Jewish texts that speak to our experiences as trans and genderqueer people. We also wanted to support existing Jewish communities in becoming welcoming sanctuaries for people of all genders. So we began writing sermons, liturgy, articles, and educational materials. Trans and genderqueer people all over the world wrote and called, asking for resources they could use to celebrate their lives; and Jewish organizations began to reach out for help in welcoming their trans members. We have created TransTorah to collect trans and genderqueer Jewish resources and make them accessible to anyone who wants them.
TransTorah is not just about transgender people.
We believe that our society’s narrow beliefs about sex and gender are harmful to all people, and that gender liberation benefits everyone. We write with a vision of a world in which we all have more freedom to be our full selves. We all suffer when we are forced to conform to gender expectations that do not reflect the richness of our identities and gifts. We aim to break down the rigid categories that have cut people off from Jewish life and spirituality. We believe that Judaism can speak to and enrich our trans and genderqueer lives, and that raising trans Jewish voices will build a more diverse, loving, expansive Judaism for everyone.
How did we get here?
Gender-nonconforming people have always existed in every culture, including Judaism. Over the millennia, our visibility has waxed and waned, similarly to the expansions and submersions of Judaism throughout the diaspora. This site contains rituals created as recently as this year, and information from some of our most ancient texts about people who didn't fit neatly into the categories of female and male.
In the 1960s and 70s, liberation movements erupted across the U.S. and the world. People of color were claiming their full rights and humanity, and this inspired many other movements, including the women's and LGBT movements, to organize for equal rights. TransTorah is dedicated to all of our ancestors and fore-parents who struggled to survive and clear a path for us today. Our work exists because of you. Thank you.
Where we are now
Within just a few years, genderqueer and trans people have emerged from almost total invisibility in the Jewish community, and in society at large. We are finding ways to claim our heritage and, through our full participation, we are experiencing a profound transformation Judaism itself. We offer the materials on this website as a source of hope and connection to our communities, our traditions, and ourselves.