“Who Are My People”: Records of the International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jews

June 26, 2024
by Tamar Zeffren
Statement from Congregation Etz Chaim: Metropolitan Community Synagogue of Greater Miami, International Conference of Gay Jews, April 24, 1977.

AJHS recently received a donation of records pertaining to several meetings of the International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jews. The first Conference was hosted in 1976; the materials received at AJHS, cover the approximate dates of 1977-1983. These materials, which have not yet been processed, seem to primarily comprise conference schedules, correspondence, governance materials, photocopies of synagogue liturgy and songs in English and Hebrew, and a single-page “Directory of Jewish Organizations,” which lists both national and international groups.

The records reflect the range of communal institutions and synagogues which co-sponsored or otherwise hosted attendees, such as Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, and conference locations, including Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, and Miami.  The Hebrew translation of Miami, the location of the 8th International Conference, is also rendered poignantly on the cover of the conference program: when separated into two words, the resulting phrase also means “Who is my nation?” Or, more colloquially, “Who are my people?”

Page from a conference schedule with panel titles and descriptions.

We look forward to processing these records and making them available for further research and use.

Program cover for the Eighth International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jews, August 4-7, 1983, Miami, Florida.
Directory page of Jewish Groups Abroad.