Nonbinary Jews are now being acknowledged by rabbis using non-gendered terms when being summoned to the Torah.

Every Saturday, members of a Jewish congregation are summoned to bless the Torah before a reading. The practice is called an aliyah and is considered an honor in Jewish tradition. However, the pronouns used to summon Jewish members of the congregation are gendered. Now, conservative rabbis have established new language to call nonbinary members to the Torah.

Religion News Service reported that the Conservative movement has outlined a series of Hebrew terms congregation leaders can use to call nonbinary members of the Jewish congregation to Torah honors. The Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards has released an opinion that establishes common languages that the U.S.' 560 Conservative synagogues can now use.

Overwhelming Vote Led to the Establishment of New Language for Nonbinary Members

On May 25, the opinion was approved following an overwhelming vote of 24 to 0, indicating how the Conservative movement has become progressively inclusive of members of the LGBT community. The Conservative movement is Judaism's second-largest U.S. branch.

"Today, we can avoid such situations of embarrassment and disrespect by calling people to the Torah in the way that they request to be called," the opinion stated, explaining that summoning members of the Jewish congregation up to the Torah by name has been a long-standing practice.

But this is not the first time a congregation established new language to accommodate nonbinary members. The Conservative movement is in fact the last of the liberal Jewish denominations to do so. Back in 2015, the Reform movement, which is America's largest Jewish branch, established new language that is gender appropriate. Meanwhile, a smaller movement called Reconstructing Judaism announced guidelines for nonbinary Torah honors back in 2017.

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Conservative Rabbis Announce New Language as 'Basic Gesture of Respect' for Nonbinary Members

Rabbi Guy Austrian of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center in Manhattan was behind the push for new language to call nonbinary members to Torah honors, the Times of Israel reported. He also formalized such gender-neutral language practices in his congregations a few years ago.

In the 12-page opinion, Rabbi Austrian, together with Rabbiss Robert Scheinberg and Deborah Silver explained that the new language was necessary to avoid "embarrassment and disrespect" for Jews who were transgender and gender non-binary.

The rabbis wrote that the new guidelines "does not seek to create a single universal version for all honorees, because the aim is not to eliminate or flatten gender differences, but rather to lift up the diversity of human gender identities, using a manageable set of options."

In addition, the Conservative rabbis argued that "people [should] be called in the way that they prefer to be called, as a basic gesture of respect."

The new language for nonbinary members of the Jewish congregation comes during Pride Month, which honors LGBT rights, during which the Reform movement is holding an event to discuss anti-LGBT legislation and how they can serve as "allies" against the bills, Jewish Boston reported.

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