Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater
My rabbinic work celebrates the margins of Judaism and the marginalized people who inhabit those spaces. This work focuses on affirming trans identities and experiences through innovative yet traditional Jewish law, liturgy, and ritual.
In addition to my rabbinic work, I am a software engineer and advocate for greater inclusion of women, people of color, transgender individuals, and other people from nontraditional backgrounds in the tech world. My personal software website is Stuffed Gibbon.
This is a new Haggadah for Passover: at once traditional and radical, featuring egalitarian Hebrew and English, full transliteration, progressive theology, and a focus on modern issues of oppression and liberation. It is my hope that this Haggadah will elicit questions from all participants, and that everyone will find something in it to challenge them: both people steeped in Jewish learning and used to traditional texts, and also people who are new to the Passover seder or are coming from different worldviews and ideologies.
I wrote a bunch of stuff about kavod ha-meit, that is to say, showing honor and respect for a deceased person prior to burial, in a transgender context. Specifically, my teshuva (responsum) on the matter discusses issues relating to tahara (ritual purification) and related actions by the Hevra Kadisha (burial society). It was published as part of a joint project between Keshet, a Jewish organization for the promotion of LGBTQ rights, and the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston.
The process of gender transition seems uniquely suited to some kind of ritual marking those milestones that a person wishes to celebrate, or simply as a way to affirm one's identity in as private or as public a setting as one wishes. Though the mikveh itself is not a public space per se, it offers a number of possibilities for ritual that lend themselves to creative interpretation from atransgender perspective. In this essay, I outline such a ritual of my own devising, as well as the rationale behind the choices I made, in the hopes that it can serve as a model for other transgender Jews to create their own affirmative liturgy and to affirmatively celebrate their identities in Jewish ways. This essay was published in the book Liberating Gender for Jews and Allies: The Wisdom of Transkeit.
A teshuva (legal responsum) on trans Jews, circumcision, and conversion.
This will be part of SVARA's Trans Halacha Project.