LGBTQ Center, Hillel partner to bring the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi to campus

Megan Ferguson

Editor’s note: This story was changed to reflect Rabbi Greenberg’s preference of his sexual orientation classification.

Steven Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, will visit Kent State on Monday to spread the message of inclusion and diversity in collaboration with Hillel and the university’s LGBTQ Student Center.

Tomer Yechezkel, an Israel fellow at Hillel, arranged for Greenberg to speak with students in the University Library’s Garden Room at 6 p.m.

“Rabbi Greenberg coming to Kent allows students to be open-minded and hear from someone who has gone through many struggles that many college students have schema on,” said Emily Yehezkel, junior special education major and Hillel president.

The two groups are coming together at Hillel on Friday for a Kent PRIDE! Shabbat before Greenberg comes to speak.

The Shabbat, which celebrates the Jewish Sabbath, is a night for students to relax and feel comfortable.

Yehezkel said the event will be beneficial to students of all faiths.

Greenberg came out as the first gay Orthodox rabbi in 1999, and Yechezkel said it is taboo for a Jewish Orthodox rabbi to be gay.

Yechezkel said his goal as a fellow is to connect Jewish students with Israel and work to change negative attitudes by showing that the Jewish community is inclusive of all people.

Hillel’s mission is “to enrich the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”

Megan Ferguson is the religion reporter, contact her at [email protected].