Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Transformative Sex Ed in Action: The Ethical Sexuality Retreat


The Sex Ed Team at the Moishe Kavod House in Brookline, MA had our first ever (first annual?) team retreat ten day ago. We wanted to spend a whole day talking together about sex, sexuality, and relationships in our lives and in our communities so that we could create a safe space in which to really dive into the trickier, stickier, more complex questions that came up during our workshops this past year.

We had 18 people in attendance, including people who had been integrally involved in the team for the past year or more as well as people for whom the retreat was their first team event. Many people wanted to join us but couldn’t make it, so I thought I’d provide here a little taste of the questions we asked each other:

*How does your Judaism [religion, spirituality] impact your sexuality? How does your sexuality impact your Judaism [religion, spirituality]?

*What happens when I don’t fit into the question you’re asking?

*What are the two most salient pieces of your identity? How do these identities make you feel powerful, powerless, or both at different times throughout your life?

*Do your sexual ethics change in different relationships?

*What personal needs does sex ed meet for you? What personal needs could sex ed meet for you in the future?

*How can we broaden and deepen our impact on the world through sex ed?

We also had three small groups break out for an hour in the afternoon. Their discussions focused on three different themes: jealousy, asexuality, and body image.

By the end of the day, I could feel that the people in the room were very excited and ready to take on leadership of the team in the coming year and get some great work done. We want to do a thorough revision of our six-part curriculum, paying special attention to issues of power, privilege, and identity in framing the activities and informing the discussions, as well as working to integrate Judaism and Jewish learning in a variety of ways. We will also continue to make space for structured and unstructured conversations in our community about relevant topics related to sex, sexuality, and relationships. In addition, we will explore the process of building power so that we can engage in outreach work, take action, and have an impact on the world at large.

If you want to hear more about our work or maybe get involved, feel free to contact me directly or email our team leaders at EthicalSexuality (at) kavodhouse (dot) com.

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