Guidelines for Introducing LGBT Content in Jewish Education
Guidelines for Introducing LGBT Content in Jewish Education
Teaching Resources
Categories Honor Humanity 
Tags: LGBTQ 
grades:  -

For Educators: Guidelines for Introducing LGBT Content into the Jewish Classroom

Author: Rebecca Weiner
This resource created and distributed by Keshet. If you are looking for more LGBT inclusive resources, please visit

Objective: This is a guide to help you navigate introducing LGBT content into your Jewish classroom. It is primarily written for teachers in elementary classrooms, but most of the principles apply to all age groups.

For many of you, working with LGBT content in the classroom will be a new experience and you may need some support in addressing issues that arise. For other of you, the topic of LGBT content may have come up many times, and this guide is intended to help reinforce your efforts.

Here are some things to think about before your bring LGBT content into your Jewish classroom:
1. Is this the first time, LGBT content has been introduced in my classroom or school?
2. Do I anticipate strong reactions from the parents of my students?
3. Are there children from LGBT families in my classroom?
4. Am I as an educator in need of more support or guidance and do I know where to get it?

If this is the first time that you are introducing LGBT content in your classroom, it is often best to discuss it with your school director, and if you both think it is best, send a note home to families. Letting families know ahead of time will help you field any concerns. These concerns can run the gamut from homophobia to feeling like it might not be handled properly.

If there are children from LGBT families you want to be sensitive to protecting them from homophobia in the classroom. You also want to help to create an environment that will help them to feel comfortable and share about their families. Including LGBT-inclusive curriculum sets the ground work for all your students and families feeling recognized and supported.

Commonly Asked Questions when introducing LGBT curriculum into the Classroom:
What if my students tease or have homophobic responses?
It is important to frame the lesson or discussion for students. Many of you already have class rules or Torahs to help shape classroom behavior; you can lean on these when setting guidelines. Some helpful frames include:e are going to be learning something new in class today and remember no matter what we learn, we always have a baseline of respect.
No matter how we feel about a person, we always treat them as we would want to be treated.
Lashon Hora (bad speech) is not allowed in our classroom.

 What if my students have more questions about LGBT identity?

Sometimes it is helpful to create simple frames, like explaining what each of the different letters stand for.
It is not age- appropriate to go into too much detail of the sexuality aspect of the identity but you can talk about how every family is different.
If you have older students (3rd grade and above) you might think of devoting a whole class to learning about LGBT identity.

What if my students ask about my identity or the identity of their friends or other teachers?

You can help reinforce for them that every one's identity is private. If an individual wants to share their identity it is their choice.
You as a teacher can make the decision to share your identity as you see fit. Coming out to your students however should be something that you think through before you bring that to your classroom. It can be a wonderful role-modeling to bring your identity to the table, and go a long way in helping students become more accepting of difference.

 Why is it important for me to include LGBT inclusive content in my Jewish classroom?

The world of Judaism that we live in today is made of all kinds of diversity, it is important AND a mitzvah to help our students learn about all different kinds of Jews in the world. This is both a way of bringing tikkun olam but is always a way of including everyone in what defines Klal Yisrael.