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Jane Tausig

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Large beehive in the branches of a leafy tree

This week’s Torah portion, Sh’lach L’cha (Go forth), triggered my imagination about similarities between the Israelite spies and honeybees. Just as the Israelite spies, who explore what it will take to make Canaan – the land God had promised them – their new home, honeybee “scouts” also explore the best place for a new colony to “swarm,” the process by which the bees generate a new home.

In the parashah, we learn about the Israelites, who, after their liberation from slavery in Egypt, were making their way to the land of Canaan. When they were near Canaan, God directed Moses to...

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Transgender restroom sign

In 2014, Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, PA, hosted a “Kindness Counts” conference that focused on welcoming LGBTQ Jews to the community. Recently, a small group of congregational leaders decided it was time for a second gathering, this time focusing on inclusion of trans and non-binary Jews in synagogue life.

We moved quickly. With approval from the rabbi and board, the three co-chairs – two of whom are trans activists and one of whom is also trans – assembled a planning committee and “Kindness Counts Bet: Moving Beyond the Gender Boxes, Embracing Transgender and Non-Binary...

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