The Jewish Week’s annual 36 Under 36 honors young leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are making a difference in the life of Jewish New York. For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.
What do you do?
I am the associate director of education and training for Metro NY for Keshet. I work with different Jewish institutions to make their communities more affirming and celebratory of the LGBTQ community. Through trainings, panels, speaking engagements, consultations, and open and honest conversations, I get to bear witness in real-time how so much of the Jewish community is really showing up for their LGBTQ members. I am also the founder and executive producer of “Thank You For Coming Out,” a community that celebrates LGBTQIA+ folks by sharing and amplifying our stories through storytelling, improv and a podcast (of which I am the host) now in its third season. And I am the co-founder and executive producer of Craft Your Truth, an organization that encourages LGBTQ folks to use any kind of performance art as a way to express their stories and connect with their community around them.
How does your Jewish identity influence your work?
Growing up, I saw maybe one openly queer Jewish person and that was really isolating and lonely. I didn’t know it was okay to be queer and Jewish. I so deeply wanted to feel part of the community and just never found my place. As a genderqueer, trans Jew, I bring my experiences, heart, and soul into my work. I want to be the representation I never had. I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I felt. I want to help shift the narrative that there’s only “one right way to be Jewish” so that no LGBTQ Jew ever questions if they belong.
In one sentence, what was your best experience as a Jewish New Yorker?
On Yom Biden — aka the day the election was called for Biden — me and a group of friends celebrated and then had Havdalah together in the street. This was super special and powerful.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I have a day named after me in my hometown because I saved a classmate who was choking on a bagel using the Heimlich.
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