Tucson Jewish Community Center partners with Federation on JPride

The Tucson Jewish Community Center has added JPride to its programming roster.

JPride, then known as the LGBT Jewish Inclusion Project, began in 2005 when the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona became one of the first federations in the country to create an outreach program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews. JPride is now a joint program of the JFSA and Tucson J.

In recent years, JPride has partnered with local agencies, including the Coalition for Jewish Education, the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and the Holocaust History Center, on programs featuring nationally-known Jewish authors, entertainers and activists. Among these are Joy Ladin, Ph.D., the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox institution (Yeshiva University); Masha Gessen, award-winning journalist; and Michael Kagan, J.D., former director of a refugee rights clinic at the University of Tel Aviv Law School.

“The J is honored to include JPride in the mosaic of programs and services that we offer to the community. We look forward to a great relationship,” says Todd Rockoff, president and CEO of the J.

Ann Markewitz, chair of the JPride steering committee, says the committee “is excited about working under the wing of the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Our collaboration will open new opportunities to serve the LGBTQ community, friends and allies throughout Southern Arizona.”

Lynn Davis, the J’s director of arts and culture, welcomes this addition to her department.

“The Tucson Jewish Community Center is a welcoming, inclusive place, open to all,” she says. “JPride not only offers us an opportunity to make our values more visible in the community, but I believe that JPride’s lay leadership will help influence many of our other programs and programming decisions here at The J.”

Davis notes that the timing couldn’t be better, as the JCC Association recently formalized a nationwide alliance with Keshet, an organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life. In addition to webinars and policy development, Keshet offers inclusion training, action planning and year-long coaching through the Keshet Leadership Project, as well as leadership development for LGBTQ teens and allies to implement in their JCC teen programs and camps.

For more information, visit tucsonjcc.org or contact Davis at 299-3000.