Rabbi Victor has been a congregational rabbi for over thirty years, having also spent more than half a decade as rabbi of a Jewish day school.
Rabbi Victor has always considered his faith as a crucial part of his interest in social justice, “I work to draw from the Torah and Jewish life the inspiration and the guidance, the ‘vision and the way,’ to help fulfill God’s hope for a world of justice and wholeness,” he said.
This commitment has manifested itself lately as Rabbi Victor has worked tirelessly on behalf of transgender rights in Massachusetts, including helping pass #TransLawMA. But now, the law and the hard work of Rabbi Victor and other proponents of transgender equality is under threat.
Opponents of the law have succeeded in placing an initiative on the ballot this November that, if passed, would repeal #TransLawMA.
Rabbi Victor, who has long been an ally in the movement for transgender equality, is prepared to keep defending the law for as long as it takes, as he’s defended transgender rights in the past.
Before working to pass #TransLawMA, Rabbi Victor, as chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, worked with the other members of the committee on a Transgender Statement of Inclusion on behalf of the Massachusetts Board or Rabbis.
The statement he helped craft began with the following prayer. “Ma rabu ma’asecha Adonai, kulam b’hochma asita, which translates, in English, to: “How great are Your works, O, God, You made them all in wisdom.”
“For us, this is about the countless ways in which people are made in God’s image – and of course that includes transgender people,” Rabbi Victor said.
“Transgender people are absolutely a part of the fabric of our society and of our communities,” he said, “Our friends, our family, our neighbors, our fellow congregants, transgender people are everywhere. Unfortunately, and still much too often, transgender people also face real discrimination, in employment, or in public places, and no one in our society should face that type of treatment.”
For all of these reasons, the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis unanimously backed a statement calling on congregations throughout the Bay State to take action to move toward the full inclusion of transgender people both in their congregations and in our state as a whole.
“[In crafting that statement] I had hoped the Massachusetts legislature will update our laws to ensure that transgender people are fully protected from discrimination in our state,” the rabbi said, “And I call on all people of faith to ensure that their communities are open and welcoming to all.”
That hope became a reality when the legislature passed #TransLawMA during a whirlwind of activity in spring of 2016.
“As a person, and as a Jew, discrimination of any kind is always a deep concern to me,” the rabbi said. That’s why Rabbi Victor joined the movement to pass #TransLawMA—and why he’ll be a strong advocate for defending it when it goes before the voters this November.
We are incredibly grateful to Rabbi Victor for sharing his experience, and for his leadership on this and many other issues of social justice.