Religious school creates ceremony to mark student’s transition

Posted on 09 Apr 2015 at 4:15pm

Rabbi Tsipi Gabai

A California Jewish Day School created a special ceremony for a 13-year-old boy at the school.

Usually the age of 13 marks the bar mitzvah, but this ceremony marked a trans student’s transition from female to male, according to the Times of Israel.

Many schools and synagogues have made gender-neutral bathrooms available, but this is believed to be the first time a Jewish ceremony was created to affirm a gender transition.

The school also began a year-long process of understanding and learning about gender with a partnership with Gender Spectrum, a local group that provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages. Gender Spectrum led workshops for students, faculty and parents.

Tom Sosnik, the 13-year-old trans student, said he came out after he read about the suicide of a 17-year-old trans girl in Ohio who was forced into reparative therapy. Sosnik thanked his family and his school for their support. He transferred to the school after being viciously bullied at his previous school in Fresno.

Rabbi Tsipi Gabai said she took into account the high suicide rate and the Talmudic commandment that to save one life is like saving the world when deciding to create the ceremony.

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