Call for Applications: Queer Jewish Incubator

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February 25, 2022

Queer Jewish Incubator is a new gathering space for LGBTQ+ Jewish people in the GTA to grow queer and Jewish connections while building stronger ties to LGBTQ+ Jewish community. The incubator nurtures LGBTQ+ people as the visionaries, storytellers, guides, weavers, and disrupters currently missing – and needed – within our Toronto Jewish communal context.

We are launching a pilot program in spring 2022 to convene the first cohort of participants from the end of March until the end of August 2022.

Applications are due Monday, March 21st at 7 pm.

Please send your application to carag@mnjcc.org with the subject line “Queer Jewish Incubator Application.” See page 4 for application details.

If you have questions, please contact Cara Gold, carag@mnjcc.org

Click here to apply!

Background 

Over the past year, LGBTQ+ at the J consulted with members of LGBTQ+ Jewish communities about how the MNjcc can most effectively serve the needs of LGBTQ+ Jewish people in Toronto. It became clear that investing in queer Jewish people and voices is one of the best ways to increase LGBTQ+ Jewish inclusion. Queer Jewish Incubator was collaboratively designed through community consultations. Close to 50% of those consulted were of Sephardi, Mizrahi heritage and/or identified as Jews of Color. As this is a pilot program, we encourage people to apply who are excited to help shape and co-create what we hope will be a sustained way to support and amplify queer voices in the Toronto Jewish community.  

Program funding for the first iteration is from the MNjcc specifically, and from community donors. We continue to seek funds to support the project and welcome donors or ideas for financial support. Please contact carag@mnjcc.org. 

Details 

The incubator brings together LGBTQ+ people to support them in initiating an ‘exploration’ growing the participant’s connection to queerness and Jewishness or strengthening the fabric of queerness and Jewishness in Toronto.  The purpose of this pluralistic and diverse convening space is in conversation with outcomes from the community consultations: we’re looking to resource LGBTQ+ Jews in the GTA through enabling more access points to Judaism and to each other.  

For now, we anticipate convening the cohort online with the possibility of gathering in downtown Toronto when it’s safe to do so.  

Participants will have access to financial support of between $500 – $1000 to advance their explorations and support to identify additional sources of funds as necessary (*please note we can’t guarantee financial support beyond what we offer you). All participants will receive $500 to support their exploration.

Explorations might be wide-ranging in purpose (and can be virtual or in-person). Examples of possible projects are, but are in no way limited to:

  • Personal projects: Family geology, tracing queer Jewish linages, identity inquiries, study project with Jewish spiritual leader.
  • Archival research: historical or contemporary investigations.
  • Ritual and prayer: Planning and hosting alternative prayer services, queering a Jewish ritual practice.
  • Dreaming: Retreat space holding, arranging panels or cross-community conversations.
  • Community arts: Letter-writing projects, multi-media creative investigations.  
  • Holding a container in Jewish time: Queering a Jewish holiday, convening around Shabbat, hosting morning blessings.
  • Technologies for rest: Queering Shmita.
  • Cultural healing: Trauma-informed projects, liberatory practice inquiries.
  • Organizational project: Support growth of queer Jewish space in organizational context or other entity (please ensure you have consent from the entity when applying).

Activities + Program Structure 

  • Cohort Gatherings. Space for building relationships between participants, supporting exploration development and growing deeper Jewish connection between the end of March to end of June. Gatherings will be created in response to explorations and participant skills and interest and will include guest educators and facilitators.  
  • We will be striving to build an accessible and anti-oppressive space (the ways the oppressions people face affect how they show up in the world) where participants can show up with the full spectrum of their identities. 
  • It is our intention to convene participants who are comfortable learning and building relationships with people who may share differing expressions, interests and identities. 
  • Mentorship. Opportunities for mentoring for cross-generational connection and project advising will be available where applicable.
  • Exploration Development. Participants will benefit from the existing networks and connections of the MNjcc and meet with MNjcc staff and incubator stakeholders to support their explorations as needed.
  • Exploration Sharing. Participants will be asked to share a culmination or component of their exploration through an avenue they are excited about whether that be in a closed group setting or with the wider Jewish, queer or general public.

Participants will be expected to commit between 10-15 hours monthly to the program between cohort gatherings and exploration development.  

Who 

The program is open to all Jewish LGBTQQIP2SAA people based in the GTA. We encourage applications from people with multi-faceted and intersectional identities. These could include, but are in no way limited to: members of racialized communities, newcomers, those from backgrounds of mixed heritage, and people with disabilities.  

Application details  

Call for applications will be the week of February 21st. Applications are due March 21st .  

Applications will be reviewed in mid-March, selections will be announced and the program will begin in late March. Applications will be reviewed by invested MNjcc staff and community members.  

Anyone is welcome to contact Cara Gold (carag@mnjcc.org), the program lead at any point with questions, inquiries or to get feedback on their exploration plans. There will be no formal interviews, but we might follow up with you to get to know you and your idea better.

Click here to apply!

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