Going to a synagogue for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Will they accept me? Will they accept my partner? Will they use the correct pronouns for me and my loved ones? Join LGBTQ+ Jewish leaders from across the United States for a conversation about what to look for and what questions to ask when you want to explore congregational life, both while in college and beyond.


Rabbi Simone Schicker (she/her/hers) is the rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a queer Jew. She was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati campus) in 2018. You can find her on Twitter @RavRainbow.

Rabbi Chaya Bender (she/her/hers/preference for being addressed by name) is the Assistant Rabbi and Youth Director at Temple Sholom of Greenwich, CT. Rabbi Bender earned a BA from Brandeis University, attended Drisha’s Artist Beit Midrash program, and received Rabbinic Ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Bender is also a proud, queer Jew. Website: https://rabbichayabender.com

Dr. Saundra Sterling Epstein (Sunnie), is the Welcoming Shuls Project Director at Eshel, and is a well known Jewish educator who has worked in many venues and around many topics of Jewish Learning, as well as education in general and critical issues that confront us in our times. www.eshelonline.org

Miryam Kabakov is the Executive Director of Eshel, which creates a future for Orthodox LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. Kabakov is the editor of Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires (North Atlantic Books, May 2010) a collection of writings about the challenges and joys of LBT+ Orthodox Jews, and is currently in the first cohort of The Collective created by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York.