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Focus on Transgender Inclusion: Book Discussion of Mimi Lemay’s What We Will Become

Saturday, February 13, 2021 1 Adar 5781

3:30 PM - 4:30 PMZoom Videoconference

What happens when a young Jewish mother comes to the inescapable conclusion that the child she's understood for years as her daughter “Em” is really her 5-year-old son, Jacob? How does her own history of separating from the Hasidic community where she was raised inform her understanding of and advocacy for her transgender son? And what does this mother’s story come to teach us about the Jewish values of inclusion, justice, care, and treating all individuals as beings who are created in the image of God?

Join Beth Am congregant Loren Ford (he/him) for a discussion of Mimi Lemay’s engaging memoir, What We Will Become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation. In this moving and thought-provoking book, Lemay weaves together two narratives: the story of her own struggle against rigid gender roles and rules as a young woman in an ultra-Orthodox community, and the story of her struggle as a mother to understand the needs of her gender-variant son. Both narratives revolve around themes of courage, hope and the journey towards authenticity, in which — as another of Lemay’s young children insists — the main characters are love and kindness. Read the book if you can, but it’s not required: if you’re short on time you can read the essay that sparked the book (A Letter to My Son Jacob on His 5th Birthday). Or come just because you’re interested in understanding more about the experience of transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer kids of all ages — as well as their parents, grandparents and others who love them — and want to learn more about how to be their allies, both in the Jewish community and beyond.

Please register for this program by Thursday, February 11, 4:00 PM using the form below.

Loren Michael Ford is a Beth Am congregant, member of Beth Am's INCLUDE team, a chair of the Beth Am Library Committee and a leader of the Slow Torah (verse by verse) lay-led Torah study group. Loren is also a transgender male who celebrated his secular renaming and gender-marker transition in a ceremony at Beth Am in December 2019 with the warm support of clergy, friends and allies from the Beth Am community, for whom he is deeply grateful.

This program is part of Beth Am's Focus on Inclusion Month, sponsored by INCLUDE Beth Am.

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Mon, January 18 2021 5 Sh'vat 5781