Yom Rivii, 12 AdarI 5781
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Gay Jews in the U.K. to document life over the rainbow

28 December 2012

A new grant from the UK Heritage Lottery Fund will allow the gay Jewish community to research, record and archive its colorful roots.

Coming out to your rabbi can be a nerve-wracking experience, particularly when he's the head of the United Synagogue, which represents much of England's Jewish community – and your boss. But Mark Solomon, an Orthodox minister at the time, recalls that the reaction of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at their pivotal meeting in January 1992 was "quite kind."

"Under his breath, he said 'Oh my God.' Then he gave me a little spiel about why he thought homosexuality was wrong – but he wished me well and said that the door was always open."

Most significantly, says Solomon, who had already decided to leave his job as a rabbi at an orthodox London synagogue, Sacks allowed him to work out the remainder of his job.

The experience of Solomon, now 49 and a prominent rabbi in UK's Liberal Synagogue, is likely to be part of a landmark project launching next month to record the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews in the United Kingdom.

The two-year "Rainbow Jews" initiative, the first of its kind in the UK, has been awarded a grant of nearly 60,000 pounds by the UK Heritage Lottery Fund to research, record and archive the experiences of British LGBT Jews from the 1950s until the present day. The theme of the project, conducted under the auspices of the Liberal Judaism movement, is "Pioneers and Milestones."  Read more