Jewish American Heritage Month is celebrated each May, but the cultural contributions of Jewish Americans should be uplifted all year long.
Below, find six LGBTQ Jewish activists you should be following on social media. From writer and organizer Adam Eli to "Snapchat rabbi" Sandra Lawson, these activists are all redefining what it means to be queer and Jewish in 2021.
Jake Cohen (@JakeCohen)
It's safe to say that Jake Cohen is having a moment. The openly gay food writer and self-described "nice Jewish boy" published his debut cookbook, Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes From a Modern Mensch, earlier this year. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller, warming the hearts (and stomachs) of kosher-abiding foodies and those who love Jewish dishes.
Cohen's Jewish pride is evident in every recipe he shares — and his mouthwatering Instagram feed is an extension of that celebratory energy. Come for the BEC (bacon, egg, and cheese) porn, and stay for self-taped videos of Cohen and his husband, Alex, making challah bread from scratch.
Adam Eli (@AdamEli)
Adam Eli is a writer, community organizer, and 2018 Logo30 honoree based in New York City. He has written extensively about how being Jewish informs his queer activism, and his debut book, The New Queer Conscience, draws on his lived experience to argue that queer people anywhere are responsible for the safety and equality of queer people globally. He's also fantastic at uplifting the voices of other LGBTQ activists and artists, sharing frequent shout-outs, calls to action, and educational content about historical events with his followers.
"Of course Jewish history is actively being made, but there's such a wide scope of Jewish history and so many books and resources that it can be daunting to learn about," Eli tells Logo. "It's one of the reasons why I love being queer and Jewish. We're at this incredible intersection where we really are full-force making queer Jewish history." He cites the "amazing student activists" at Yeshiva University, who filed a lawsuit against the university after it refused to recognize their LGBTQ student group, as a great example. "We are living history."
Rabbi Sandra Lawson (@RabbiSandra)
An Army veteran, a vegan, and an ordained rabbi with Reconstructing Judaism, Rabbi Sandra Lawson truly marches to the beat of her own drum. The activist has made a name for herself as "the Snapchat Rabbi," discussing her faith and her positionality as a Black lesbian rabbi with eager audiences across multiple platforms. "Jews can benefit from white privilege and face discrimination for being Jews. Both can be true at the same time," she wrote in a moving personal essay for The Forward. "To my brothers, sisters, and gender non-conforming Jewish family who want to dry off and do better, we must listen to the experiences of black Jews and other Jews of color."
Lex Horwitz (@lex_horwitz)
Lex Horwitz wears many hats. A proudly Jewish and nonbinary model, influencer, and educator, Horwitz uses their platform to challenge conventional beauty ideals and advocate for LGBTQ acceptance. Their pastel-hued Instagram feed is full of stunning looks and equally dazzling captions honoring their Jewish pride.
Abby Stein (@AbbyChavaStein)
Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, before leaving her Ultra-Orthodox community in 2012. Three years later, she came out as a transgender woman and made it her mission to advocate for other LGBTQ people leaving Ultra-Orthodoxy.
Judaism is still a huge part of Stein's life, and she writes candidly about being Jewish and trans in her memoir, Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman. It's also all over her feed, from pics of her homemade challah bread to her beautiful spreads for Jewish holidays like Purim.
Dubbs Weinblatt (@eldubbs12)
Transgender activist Dubbs Weinblatt is perhaps best known as the founder and host of Thank You for Coming Out, a queer improv show about coming-out stories with a popular podcast of the same name. They also work for Keshet, a national organization that advocates for the inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life. It's hard not to feel energized by their proud displays of #TransJoy.
"I find my strength from within and don’t need any outside sources, God included, to be my own constant, my own divinity," Weinblatt wrote in a recent essay for Hey Alma. "I was made the way I am because it’s who I am meant to be. Every move or mistake I’ve made, every lesson I’ve learned, has made me who I am, and I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences to be born any other way."