LGBTQIA+ and Sexuality Resources in the AJHS Collections

June 30, 2023
by Tanya Elder

The American Jewish Historical Society maintains a series of Resource Bibliographies on specific topics for internal and external use for our staff and patrons. AJHS has added a new Bibliography, focusing on gay and lesbian material in the archival and library collections, along with archival material and books on sexuality. We are still discovering new material along these lines in our collections and will update this bibliography as necessary.

The following are excerpts from finding aid resources found at the American Jewish Historical Society by Tanya Elder followed by a list of books compiled by Megan Scauri. 


P-979 Steven Siegel Papers 
Steven Siegel was born in 1946 in Teaneck, NJ. He was an archivist, genealogist, and active member of the LGBT community. A graduate of Cornell University, for over thirty years Siegel served as the national coordinator of the Cornell University Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association (CUGALA) and helped found Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City, the first and only synagogue serving the Jewish gay and lesbian community. He served on the Board of Trustees and was instrumental in publishing the Gay Synagogue News of Beth Simchat Torah. Mr. Siegel was a leader in Jewish genealogical research and conceived and published Toledot, the first contemporary journal of Jewish genealogy and founded the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York (JGSNY). He played a leadership role in the American Jewish Historical Society’s genealogical databases. His archival papers include material on Congregation Beth Simchat Torah including Board and Committee records, Conferences, the establishment of gay-related archival collections, a full run of Gay Synagogue News, and university materials on Siegel’s education at Cornell and his work with CUGALA and the Cornell Alumni Federation. 

I-393 New Jewish Agenda Records 
The New Jewish Agenda Organizing Committee was founded at a meeting at the home of Gerry Serotta in 1979. The organization was formally established at a conference of over 700 progressive Jews in Washington D.C. in 1980 and made of Jews from a variety of religious and secular backgrounds committed to fostering a progressive voice in the organized Jewish community. The collection contains a Bibliography of the Jewish Community in the service of Lesbian and Gay Liberation, particularly at the advent of the AIDS crisis from 1982-1986. This collection forms part of the AJHS Counter-Culture Collections, holding personal and institutional records documenting Jewish causes in the realm of social justice. 

P-1015 Bayard Rustin Papers 
While the Rustin papers consist of only one folder, AJHS is honored to house some of Rustin’s important work on behalf of Soviet Jewry including speeches and articles. Rustin was an African American Quaker who was not only a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, but also in advancing the Gay Rights Movement in the United States, particularly in the 1980s. He died in 1987 of a ruptured appendix at the age of 75. 

I-560 Lights in Action Records 
Lights in Action (LIA) documents the various activities of this now-defunct college-student run group, ranging from its inception in 1991 to 2002, the year after it ceased operating. LIA was dedicated to promoting Jewish identity and Zionist commitment among college-aged Jews. Starting in 1992, LIA created and distributed student-written, bi-annual mailings on Jewish/Zionist identity, developed Shabbat programming, and distributed colorful, well-produced posters, calendars and Shabbat cards that stressed the positive experiences of Jewish culture and worship. LIA had a deep commitment to pluralism, and many students were attracted to LIA because of the diversity of students involved from deeply religious Jews, non-religious Jews, Hispanic Jews, children of intermarriage, gay, lesbian, and bisexual Jews, artists, students interested in social justice and many more. LIA made it possible for these different groups to come together for a common goal and be allowed to express themselves in a safe environment among like-minded people.  

P-1048 Rep. Nita Lowey Papers 
Democratic Representative Nita Lowey served the Westchester area in Congress from 1989-2021 in the House of Representatives during the Presidencies of William Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. During her tenure, Rep. Lowey accumulated committee records on a variety of topics that affected both national and international health-related issues, including the AIDS/HIV crisis. Her records document her work on the AIDS Taskforce of 2001-2004, housing issues for AIDS patients, and the Ryan White CARE Act for assistance for AIDS drugs research from 1995-1996. Mrs. Lowey’s papers are in both paper and electronic formats. Electronic formats are currently unavailable. 

I-77 American Jewish Congress Records 
The AJC holds numerous records on sexuality education and lawsuits, teen pregnancy, and academic publications on gay rights.  

P-894 Sidney Franklin Collection 
Sidney Franklin was the first known Jewish bullfighter and lived his life as a closeted gay man in an extremely machismo arena. Franklin’s papers document his life as a bullfighter and his friendships with others who lived the matador life or who documented the Spanish Civil War during the late 1930s. The collection contains Franklin’s autobiography, some correspondence, drawings, and photographs of his life. 

I-578 Hadassah Records 
Hadassah’s massive collection of records are held under custodianship by the American Jewish Historical Society and documents Hadassah’s work in this area, particularly in the mid-1980s to the late 1990s with testing centers, clinical trials information, a study on women living with AIDS in Israel, conferences on AIDS/HIV, and “AIDS in an Ethnic Culture.”  

P-841 Ruth Abusch-Magder Papers 
The Abusch-Magder papers addresses the Jewish feminist women’s movement and issues of sexuality. The papers are part of the AJHS Counter-Culture Collection. 

I-337 National Jewish Welfare Board Records 
NJWB records contains material on sex education, including an article by Barry Poris entitled “Sexuality for Adolescents in a JCC,” from 1985. 

P-152 Arthur Ocean Waskow Papers 
The Waskow papers offer a broad view of Judaism based on Waskow’s work as a rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement. The Waskow papers are part of the AJHS Counter-Culture Collection. 

I-506 New York Board of Rabbis Records 
The New York Board of Rabbis contains one videocassette of the “Point of View” WOR-TV program on Human Sexuality from 1994. NYBR videocassettes are viewable only at the Center for Jewish History. 

P-867 Irving J. Block Papers 
The Block Papers document Rabbi Block’s tenure at the Brotherhood Synagogue located in NYC’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The congregation shared space at the Village Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village. At the start of the new clergy’s installation, tensions arose between the synagogue and the church. Reverend William Glenesk began at the Village Presbyterian Church in September 1971. During the next two years tensions and disagreements developed between Reverend Glenesk, Rabbi Block and their respective boards regarding charges of anti-Semitism against Glenesk, the usage of shared space, conflicting missions, Greenwich Mews Theatre productions and Glenesk’s welcoming of gay activist groups. The tensions peaked during the Yom Kippur War when Block placed the following statement on the building’s public sign: “May there be victory and peace for Israel.” Glenesk’s response in the Village Presbyterian Church’s weekly bulletin was an apology to “our friends, Arab, non-Zionist Jews and all who are offended by the arrogant, self-righteous sign posted outside our sanctuary by the synagogue.” The explosion of tensions set into motion local media fervor. The Brotherhood Synagogue moved out of the building in April 1974. This subseries consists of correspondence, minutes, clippings and notes related to the conflict and eventual break between the two congregations and their leaders. 

I-80 Baron de Hirsch Fund Records 
The collection holds a folder of materials on Sex Education in 1934. 

I-510 Anti-Defamation League—John Birch Society Records 
This collection contains a folder of material on sex education from 1969 and 1974. 

P-885 Goldie Milgram Papers 
Rabbi Milgram’s papers contains much information on human sexuality and Judaism, as well as a paper by Susan Saxe from 1998 entitled “Same Sex Counseling for Marriage/Commitment Ceremonies.” Rabbi Milgram’s papers are part of the AJHS Counter-Culture Collection. 

I-513 Jewish Media Records 
This collection contains notes on the film “Sex: A Topic for Discussion,” from 1987. 

I-314 Richard Cohen Associates, Inc. (1979-2000) 
Richard Cohen Associates was a public relations firm located in New York City and served a wide variety of commercial, non-profit and individual clients, it was known particularly for its role in promoting the political and social views of the Jewish community. The firm’s focus was on articulating a liberal and secular Jewish voice. It served major Jewish organizations, such as the American Jewish Congress, World Jewish Congress, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Zionist Movement. It was a significant promoter of Reform Judaism in the United States. A primary client of the firm since its inception was the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Its involvement in liberal issues included Jewish homosexual rights, disabled rights, Orthodox feminism, and interfaith relations. Its clients included the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the Jewish Braille Institute of America, and the International Conference on Feminism & Orthodoxy. It was an important publicist for the arts, marketing the work of filmmakers, writers, sculptors, painters and musicians. Among its projects included publicizing the Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List, and the work of the Russian artist Ernst Neizvestny. The collection is also included on a bibliography of LGBTQ archival resources described on the website of the LGBTQ Religious Archives. 

LGBTQIA+ Books in the American Jewish Historical Society Collection: 

Alpert, Rebecca T. Like Bread on the Seder Plate : Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. 
BM729.H65 A47 1997 

Balka, Christie., and Rose, Andy, eds. Twice Blessed : on Being Lesbian, Gay, and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989. 
BM720.S4 T85 1989 

Beck, Evelyn Torton, ed. Nice Jewish Girls : a Lesbian Anthology. Rev. and updated ed. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989. 
BM720.S4 B23 

Bellini, Lígia. Acoisa Obscura : Mulher Sodomia Inquisicao No Brasil Colonial. Rua da Consolacao, Brazil: Editora Brasiliense, 1987. 
HQ75.6.B6 B45 1989 

Brettschneider, Marla. The Family Flamboyant : Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006. 
HQ75.15 .B74 2006 

Brick, Barrett L. Judaism in the Gay Community. Millbrae: Celestial Arts, 1979. 
BM720.S4 B7 

Congregation Beth Simchat Torah. Sidur Be-Khol Levavkha = Siddur B’chol L’vav’cha = With All Your Heart. New York: Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, 2008. 
BM674.35 .C62 2008 

Duberman, Martin B. Cures : a Gay Man’s Odyssey. New York: Dutton, 1991. 
HQ75.8.D82 A3 1991 

Ely, Stanley E. In Jewish Texas : a Family Memoir. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1998. 
CT275.E425 A3 1998 

Friedman, Jonathan C. Rainbow Jews : Jewish and Gay Identity in the Performing Arts. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. 
PN1590.G39 F75 2007 

Glück, Robert, ed. Homosexuality and Judaism : a Reconstructionist Workshop Series. Wyncote, Pa. : Reconstructionist Press, 1992. 
BM720 .H7236 

Goldstein, Harris R. Being a Blessing : 54 Ways You Can Help People Living with AIDS. Los Angeles: Alef Design Group, 1994. 
RC607.A26 G56 1994

Hoffman, Warren. The Passing Game : Queering Jewish American Culture. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2009. 
PS153.J4 H64 2009 

Kantrowitz, Arnie. Under the Rainbow : Growing up Gay. New York: Morrow, 1977. 
HQ75.8.K36 A37 

Kramer, Larry. Reports from the Holocaust : the Making of an AIDS Activist. New York; St. Martin’s Press, 1989. 
RC607.A26 K73 

Mass, Lawrence D. Confessions of a Jewish Wagnerite: Being Gay and Jewish in America. London: Cassell, 1994. 
CT275.M278 A2 

Monette, Paul. Borrowed Time : an AIDS Memoir. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. 
RC607.A26 M66 

Plaskow, Judith, and Berman, Donna, eds. The Coming of Lilith : Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics, 1972-2003. Boston: Beacon Press, 2005. 
BM729.W6 P54 2005 

Rapoport, Chaim. Judaism and Homosexuality : an Authentic Orthodox View. Foreword by Jonathan Sacks ; Preface by Dayan Berkovits. London ; Portland, OR : Vallentine Mitchell, 2004. 
BM729.H65 R37 2004 

[Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association]. Homosexuality and Judaism : the Reconstructionist Position. Wyncote, Pa. : Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, 1992. 
BM720 .H7235 

Reiss, Ellen, ed. The Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel and the Change from Homosexuality. New York: Definition Press, 1986. 
HQ76 .A39 1986 

Rosenfels, Paul. Homosexuality, the Psychology of the Creative Process. New York: Ninth St. Center, 1989. 
RC558 .R67 

Schimel, Lawrence, ed. Found Tribe : Jewish Coming out Stories. Santa Fe, NM: Sherman Asher Pub., 2002. 
HQ76.2.U5 F68 2002 

Shilts, Randy. The Mayor of Castro Street : the Life and Times of Harvey Milk. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982. 
F869.S353 M547 

Shneer, David, and Aviv, Caryn, eds. Queer Jews. New York: Routledge, 2002. 
HQ75.16.U6 Q44 2002 

Shokeid, Moshe. A Gay Synagogue in New York. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. 
BM225.N52 B487 2002 

Vainfas, Ronaldo. Tropico Dos Pecados : Moral, Sexualidade e Inquisicaono, Brasil Colonial. Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 1989. 
HQ32 .V35 1989 

Weisberg, Stuart E. Barney Frank : the Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009. 
0E840.8.F695 W45 2009 

Weiss, Mike. Double Play : the San Francisco City Hall Killings. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1984. 
HV6534.S3 W44 

Sexual ethics, feminism, sexuality, gay public figures: 

Ames, Evelyn. A Wind from the West : Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Abroad. Photos. by Bert Bial. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1970. 
ML200.8.N52 A47 

Antler, Joyce. Jewish Radical Feminism : Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement. New York : New York University Press, 2018. [MISSING] 
BM729.W6 A58 2018 

Berman, Myron. Sex and the Jewish Teenager. New Haven: Religious Education Association, 1970. 
BM727 .B27 

Berman, Robin E., et al. The Hadassah Jewish Family Book of Health and Wellness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. 
BM538.H43 B47 2006 

Bernstein, Leonard. Findings. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982. 
ML410.B566 A3 

Bernstein, Leonard S. “How’s Business?” “Don’t Ask”; Tales from the Garment Center. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1974. 
HD9940.U5 N62 

Bernstein, Leonard. The Joy of Music. New York: S.n., 1959. 
ML60 .B47 

Bernstein, Shirley. Making Music : Leonard Bernstein. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1963. 
ML410.B566 B5 

Biale, David. Eros and the Jews : from Biblical Israel to Contemporary America. New York: BasicBooks, 1992. 
BM720.S4 B53 1992 

Borowitz, Eugene B., and B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations. Choosing a Sex Ethic; a Jewish Inquiry. New York: Schocken Books for B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, 1969. 
HQ32 .B65 

Brewer, Joan Scherer, et al. Sex and the Modern Jewish Woman : an Annotated Bibliography. Fresh Meadows, NY: Biblio Press, 1986. 
Z7164.S42 B73 

Briggs, John. Leonard Bernstein : the Man, His Work, and His World. Cleveland: World Pub. Co., 1961. 
ML410.B566 B7 

Bulka, Reuven P. Sex in the Talmud : Reflections on Human Relations. Mount Vernon: The Peter Pauper Press, 1979. 
BM509.S2 B8 

Cone, Molly, and Galster, Robert. Leonard Bernstein. Illustrated by Robert Galster. New York: Crowell, 1970. 
ML3930.B48 C7 

Deitch, Kenneth M., and Foley, Sheila. Leonard Bernstein, America’s Maestro. With a Message from Isaac Stern. Lowell, Mass.: Discovery Enterprises, 1991. 
ML410.B566 .D325 

Edwardes, Allen. Erotica Judaica; : a Sexual History of the Jews. New York: Julian Press, 1967. 
HQ13 .K56 1967 

Epstein, Louis M. Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism. New York: Bloch, 1948. 
BM720.S4 E6 

Ewen, David. Leonard Bernstein : a Biography for Young People. Philadelphia: Chilton Co., Book Division, 1960. 
ML3930.B48 E9 

Fluegel, Jane, ed. Bernstein Remembered / Introduction by Donal Henahan ; Preface by Isaac Stern. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1991. 
ML88.B476 B47 

Franklin, Sidney. Bullfighter from Brooklyn. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952. 
GV1108.F7 A3 

Friedman, Manis. Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore? : Reclaiming Intimacy, Modesty, and Sexuality. Edited by Jena Morris Breningstall. New York: Harper Collins, 1990. 
BM720.S4 F75 1990 

Gittelsohn, Roland Bertram, and Weinberg, Joy. Love in Your Life : a Jewish View of Teenage Sexuality. [Photographs by Joy Weinberg]. New York: UAHC Press, 1991. 
HQ35 .G49 

Glasner, Samuel. Judaism and Sex. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1961. 
BM720.S4 G52 

Gordis, Robert. Love & Sex : a Modern Jewish Perspective. New York: Hippocrene, 1988. 
BM720.S4 G67a 

Gordis, Robert. Sex and the Family in the Jewish Tradition. New York: Burning Bush Press, 1967. 
HQ525.J4 G65 

Gradenwitz, Peter. Leonard Bernstein : the Infinite Variety of a Musician. Leamington Spa [Warwickshire] ; New York: Berg ; Distributed Exclusively in the U.S. and Canada by St. Martin’s Press, 1987. 
ML410.B566 G713 

Gruen, John, and Heyman, Ken. The Private World of Leonard Bernstein / Photographs by Ken Heyman. New York: Viking Press, 1968. 
ML410.B566 G8 

Hessel, Carolyn Starman., and Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education. Coming of Age in an Age of Confusion : Jewish Values and Sex Education. New York: CAJE, 1998. 
BM720 .S4C65 1998 

Heschel, Susannah, ed. On Being a Jewish Feminist : a Reader. New York: Schocken Books, 1983. 
BM729.W6 J83 1983 

[History Channel]. XY Factor: Sex in the American Revolution. Sydney, N.S.W. : History Channel, 2004. [VHS tape] 
HQ16 .S4 

Isaacs, Ronald H. Every Person’s Guide to Jewish Sexuality. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 2000. 
BM720.S4 I73 2000 

Ledbetter, Steven., et al., ed. Sennets & Tuckets : a Bernstein Celebration. Boston: Boston Symphony Orchestra in Association with D.R. Godine, 1988. 
ML410.B566 L22 

Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Feminist Consciousness : from the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 
HQ1121 .L47 

Lopez, Enrique Hank. Eros and Ethos : a Comparative Study of Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant Sex Behavior. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1979. 
HQ18.U5 L67 

Ner-David, Haviva. Life on the Fringes : a Feminist Journey toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination. Foreword by Blu Greenberg. Needham, MA: JFL Books, 2000. 
BM755.N44 A3 2000 

Peyser, Joan. Bernstein : a Biography. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987. 
ML410.B566 P5 

Rubenstein, Richard L. Morality and Eros. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970. 
HM216 .R8 

Sands, Sidney L. Growing up to Love, Sex, and Marriage. Boston: Christopher Pub. House, 1960. 
HQ31 .S17 

Schneider, Susan Weidman. Jewish and Female : Choices and Changes in Our Lives Today. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. 
BM729.W6 S36 1984 

Shawn, Allen. Leonard Bernstein : an American Musician. New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, [2014]. 
ML410.B566 .S53 2014 

Silverstein, Shraga. The Antidote. New York: Feldheim Publishers, 1979. 
BM720.S4 S35 

Soffer, Jonathan M. Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. 
F128.54.K63 S64 2010 

Streete, Gail Corrington. The Strange Woman : Power and Sex in the Bible. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997. 
BS680.S5 S77 1997 

Weininger, Otto, and Bornsztajn, Elim. Geshlekhṭ Un Karaḳṭer : Printsipiele Ophandlung. Ṿarshe ; Nyu Yorḳ : [S.n.], 1929. 
HQ21 .W418 

Westheimer, Ruth K., and Mark, Jonathan. Heavenly Sex : Sexuality in the Jewish Tradition. New York: Continuum, 1996. 
BM720.S4 W477 1996