Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

Torah & Sexuality: Exploring Esther & Female Sexuality in Judaism
Edlavitch DCJCC


As part of its mission to recontextualize Judaism for a modern LGBTQ community, GLOE - The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC is presenting the Torah & Sexuality series of Jewish learning classes on the 3rd Tuesday of every month through June 2018. Each class will explore a different topic in Judaism that relates to sexual relations, identity, and/or expression — presented in a contemporary queer context by various rabbis and other Jewish educators. Classes are generally structured to provide an introduction of topical source texts with roughly a half-hour of chavruta (small group study) followed by another half-hour of larger group discussion.

In honor of Purim, join the Edlavitch DCJCC's Director of Jewish Engagement Darya Watnick and local Jewish educator Becca Benoff on a deep dive into Jewish text to uncover more about the biblical Queen Esther — who can arguably be considered an early feminist icon — and rabbinical teachings on the empowerment of female sexuality in Judaism.

This is Torah & Sexuality program is sponsored by the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA).

Each class is $10; if cost is a barrier to your participation, please email at

This class is also fully inclusive of all, regardless of gender expression, sexual identity, or ability. For accommodation requests, please email Stacey Herman at

About the instructors:

Darya Watnick - Jewish Engagement Manager at the EDCJCC Darya Watnick
Director of Jewish Engagement, Edlavitch DCJCC
Darya is the Director of Jewish Engagement at the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, focusing on programming for families with young children. She is also a current JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor, Food/Farming and Environmental Education) Fellow with Hazon, a Jewish environmental nonprofit. Prior to working at the EDCJCC, Darya lived in Israel for three years. She was a participant on the Yahel Social Change Program in Gedera, Israel. Then she moved to Jerusalem to study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, focusing on social justice in Jewish texts. Darya enjoys cooking and baking, and especially loves to create unique flavors of homemade ice cream. Other interests include photography, creating community, and traveling.
Becca Benoff Becca Benoff
Jewish Educator, Congregation Etz Hayim

Becca has been teaching at Congregation Etz Hayim for two years. She also works full-time at the Edlavitch DCJCC where she provides support to the Jewish Life and Learning department.  She attended The George Washington University where she studied Psychology and Judaic Studies.


The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement (GLOE) at the Edlavitch DCJCC is the first and only full-time LGBTQ outreach program of any Jewish Community Center in North America.  GLOE has been recontextualizing Judaism for a contemporary queer community since its founding by Stuart S. Kurlander over ten years ago.

JCADAThe Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) supports victims of domestic abuse to become empowered and live safely; educates the community about domestic abuse and appropriate responses; and prevents future generations from suffering domestic abuse. JCADA is committed to providing high-quality services to all residents of the Greater Washington DC community without regard to race, national origin, ability, background, faith, gender or sexual orientation.

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
1529 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

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