Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

The Ina and Jack Kay Community Hall at the Edlavitch DCJCC

We Remember: LGBTQ Communities in Crisis


Tisha B'Av is considered the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.  It is a time to reflect on the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other communal tragedies of the Jewish people.  In symbolic tribute to the ritual observance of Tisha B'Av, GLOE will mark this day by examining the current climate of persecution targeting LGBTQ communities around the world, including the recent wave of detention and torture of gay men in the Chechnya region of Russia, and the impact of the global LGBTQ refugee crisis created by factors such as systematic executions of LGBTQ people by the Islamic State and anti-gay legislation passed in places like Uganda.

Please join us, along with our panel co-presented by Adas Israel Congregation and HIASthe world's oldest refugee agency—for what we expect to be a powerful conversation with experts on various humanitarian crises affecting LGBTQ communities around the world.


Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

Senior Rabbinic Advisor,
Adas Israel Congregation

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf joined Adas Israel Congregation as senior rabbi in 2008. He is widely respected for his success in re-envisioning the nature of our 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.

Currently, Rabbi Steinlauf is on the boards of the Washington Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He also sits on the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council. 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.


James Kirchick

Visiting Fellow,
Brookings Institution

James Kirchick

James Kirchick is a visiting fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe and Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. A widely published journalist, he is author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age” (Yale University Press, 2017), a correspondent for The Daily Beast, a columnist for Tablet magazine, and a frequent contributor to a wide array of publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, POLITICO, Foreign Policy, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary among many others.

A leading voice on American gay politics and international gay rights, he is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Journalist of the Year Award. In 2010, he was assaulted while covering a gay pride parade in Belgrade, Serbia and in 2013 he was kicked off a live broadcast of Russia Today for protesting the Russian government’s anti-gay persecution.


Beni Dedieu Luzau

LGBTQ refugee,
Refugee Alliance Network

Beni Dedieu Luzau

Beni DeDieu Luzau fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004 to avoid imprisonment for his advocacy work on LGBTI issues and HIV/AIDS awareness. In the U.S. he continues his work for social justice as a member of the National LGBTQ Task Force and founder of the Refugee Alliance Network (RAN). He also works as a correspondent for a Belgian Magazine called Telsquels, and serves as a translator and interpreter for Christ Companions Church. Mr. Luzau is most proud of contributing to his community by organizing a World Refugee Day event at Russell Senate Office Building on June 16, 2016 with representatives from refugee resettlement agencies, the U.S. Department of State, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the U.S Senate, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.


Rachel Levitan

Associate Vice President for Program Planning and Management,

Rachel Levitan is the Associate Vice President for Program Planning and Management at HIAS, the world’s oldest, and only Jewish, refugee agency. Working closely with partners in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and at the UN Refugee Agency, she helps drive the agency's international efforts to increase protection for particularly vulnerable refugees, including survivors of torture and gender-based violence, persons with disabilities, older refugees, and sexual minorities. She also leads efforts to maximize the impact of HIAS’ international programs in the fields of legal aid, resettlement, livelihoods and psychosocial assistance.

Prior to working with HIAS, Rachel co-founded and directed Turkey’s first legal clinic for refugees. Before that, she litigated race- and gender-based discrimination claims in federal and state court in New York City. Rachel has published numerous journal articles and reports on international refugee protection issues.


Jesse Bernstein

Senior Advisor,
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor,
U.S. Department of State

Jesse Bernstein

Jesse Bernstein is a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the Department of State. He joined the Department in 2011 and led the development and launch of the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership initiative that supports programs to advance the human rights of LGBTI persons globally. In his current role as Senior Advisor, he leads policy and diplomatic initiatives in support of human rights, with a focus on vulnerable persons. Prior to joining the Department, he worked for Human Rights First, the United Nations Refugee Agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Switzerland, and the Refugee Law Project in Uganda on a range of refugee and human rights issues. He has published articles on refugee and LGBTI rights.


Jeremy Kadden

Senior International Policy Advocate,
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

Jeremy Kadden joined the Human Rights Campaign in August 2014 as Senior International Policy Advocate. He focuses on working with the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch to advance an LGBTQ-inclusive U.S. foreign policy. He is also contact for the northeast region, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Prior to joining HRC, Jeremy was the Senior Legislative Manager at InterAction, the largest coalition of U.S.-based NGOs, where he lobbied for greater U.S. engagement in global development. Before working at InterAction, Jeremy spent seven years on Capitol Hill, working for Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), covering foreign affairs, immigration, national security and a wide range of other issues.

Presented by

GLOE-logo-sq-smaller.jpg HIAS logo.jpg Adas Israel Congregation

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.

HIAS is the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees—including women and children, and ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities—whose lives are in danger for being who they are. Guided by our values and history, HIAS helps refugees rebuild their lives in safety and advocates for their rights and protection.

Adas Israel Congregation in Cleveland Park, Washington, DC seeks to create a unique, shared space where we can discover what it means to be human and to be part of a sacred community. Through the medium of Judaism, we foster moments that celebrate the joy and wonder of being alive, and of finding intimacy & connection in the presence of each other.

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Edlavitch DCJCC
1529 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

We're sorry, the deadline for online sales has passed. Contact program staff listed above to purchase by phone.