Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

#UsToo: Acknowledging the Reality of Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Jewish Community
The Ina and Jack Kay Community Hall at the Edlavitch DCJCC

#UsToo with Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes and Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

As part of its mission to recontextualize Judaism for a modern community, GLOE - The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC is presenting its monthly Torah & Sexuality series of Jewish learning programs exploring different topics in Judaism that relate to sexual relations, expression, and identity, presented in a contemporary context by various rabbis and other Jewish educators.

Since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have come to light, there has been a flood of further allegations against sexual perpetrators in all quarters of our society. It is time we acknowledge this problem openly as a community, and seek strength, insight and answers together. Join Rabbi Gil Steinlauf and Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes of The Brookings Institution for one of the first conversations convened by a Jewish communal institution on the current sexual harassment/assault issues proving to be cultural flashpoints around the world — together, we'll explore Jewish insights on this problem, acknowledge the challenges, and discuss ways of taking collective action to stop sexual abuse and protect potential victims in our community.

This will be a special event presented as part of the ongoing Torah & Sexuality series of Jewish learning programs relating ancient texts to modern sex.

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

About the facilitators:

Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes

Tamara Cofman Wittes, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East during the Arab uprisings. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions.

Wittes joined Brookings in December of 2003. Previously, she served as a Middle East specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace and director of programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington. She has also taught courses in international relations and security studies at Georgetown University. Wittes was one of the first recipients of the Rabin-Peres Peace Award, established by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Wittes is the author of "Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy" (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) and the editor of "How Israelis and Palestinians Negotiate: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Oslo Peace Process" (USIP, 2005). She holds a bachelor's in Judaic and Near Eastern studies from Oberlin College, and a master's and doctorate in government from Georgetown University. She serves on the board of the National Democratic Institute, as well as the advisory board of the Israel Institute, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Women in International Security.

While the #MeToo social media response to public dialogue on sexual harassment was trending, Tamara Wittes went one step further and challenged her followers to name one action they could take to combat sexual harassment and assault as part of the #IWill campaign she launched. She recently wrote about her efforts to inspire constructive collective action on these issues, and will share more insight on communities coming together to address sexual harassment/assault.

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf
Senior Rabbinic Advisor, Adas Israel Congregation
Rabbi Steinlauf joined Adas Israel Congregation as senior rabbi in 2008. He is widely respected for his success in re-envisioning the nature of that historic synagogue. Upon joining Adas Israel in 2008, Rabbi Steinlauf pioneered a paradigm shift that lifts up innovative modes of study and exploration of meaning as central in synagogue life. Rabbi Steinlauf is the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, conservative congregation to come out as openly gay, and through his honesty, has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on the issues facing modern culture and Judaism. He had previously been the rabbi of Temple Israel in New Jersey (since 2001). He is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, and also studied at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, earned an MHL from the University of Judaism, and received rabbinic ordination and an MA at JTS.

Currently, Rabbi Steinlauf is on the boards of the Washington Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He sits on the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council. He also sits on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee of JTS. He is an alumnus of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and a member of the Center for Jewish Learning and Leadership’s Rabbis Without Borders program. Along with Adas clergy and staff, Rabbi Steinlauf co-founded three nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel: YP@AI for Jewish Young Professionals, MakomDC for 21st century experiential learning, and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington for meditation, yoga, and contemplative Jewish practices.


Presented by

GLOE-logo-sq-smaller.jpg JOFA logo JWI logo JSSA logo JCADA NCJW

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.

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) raises awareness about gender issues in Orthodoxy and advocates for a more gender-inclusive and equitable community.

Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to empower women and girls by ensuring and protecting their physical safety and economic security, promoting and celebrating inter-generational leadership, and inspiring civic participation and community engagement. Inspired by our legacy of progressive women’s leadership and guided by our Jewish values, JWI works to ensure that all women and girls thrive in healthy relationships, control their financial futures and realize the full potential of their personal strength.

JSSA offers counseling, special needs services, in-home support, senior programs, and hospice care to help individuals and families in the Washington region overcome challenges in their lives. Our patient-focused approach to care empowers our clients of all ages to focus on their strengths and achieve their goals.

The Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA)’s mission is to support victims of domestic abuse to become empowered and live safely, educate the community about domestic abuse and appropriate responses, and prevent future generations from suffering domestic abuse. We do this by providing free clinical and legal services to survivors, educating teens about dating violence, and engaging the community through outreach programs. 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.

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Edlavitch DCJCC
1529 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

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