Grant Announcement: Eshel Baltimore Chapter Event

Eshel’s mission is to create a future for Orthodox lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Through its innovative and culturally sensitive programming, Eshel supports LGBTQ+ Jews and helps traditional Jewish communities become more inclusive. With the help of JPride, Eshel will focus on meeting the needs of families in Baltimore through its three-pronged approach of working at the local level with families, LGBTQ+ individuals, and Jewish institutions.

A grant from JPride will increase Eshel’s visibility in Baltimore and resonate with the community, deepening Eshel’s reach and allowing Eshel to leverage local resources. Baltimore’s vibrant Orthodox community, like all communities, includes a LGBTQ+ population. While this population has often remained invisible, Eshel has facilitated the development of a strong chapter in Baltimore, with successful programming for the past 5 years. This success can be attributed in part to a strong core of volunteers, spearheaded by a mother of a gender non-conforming child who developed two support groups, for LGBTQ+ individuals and for their parents. While Eshel Baltimore is one of our oldest chapters, founded by Mindy Dickler, we have had little funding from Baltimore’s Jewish or LGBTQ community. This group has been running on the strength of its volunteers. At this point, we must create new avenues for leadership as the lead volunteers are ready to move on; some have started a family, and one has moved to Israel.

This group needs on-the-ground support in order to make deeper inroads into the Jewish community to ensure the group stays vital, growing, and strong. Even as Eshel serves more LGBTQ+ people every year, we recognize that we currently reach only a fraction of those in need. With the help of the Baltimore chapter, Eshel will continue its programming and build upon it with the support of staff and funds for programs. Eshel also works with Jewish institutions to create change on a policy level and establish truly welcoming and inclusive communities.

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