Rabbi Steinlauf is a nationally recognized public speaker, lecturer and teacher.
He is available for lectures, classes, workshops and Scholar-in-Residence weekends and appearances.
Suggested Jewish-LGBT Topics:
Going Beyond “Inclusion” to Diversify the Jewish Community
Taking the next step-- beyond simply welcoming-- to becoming more effective, innovative, and relevant Jewish communities for LGBTQ and other less affiliated Jewish populations.
One of the great triumphs of the mainstream American Jewish community is the widespread acceptance and embrace of LGBTQ Jews in synagogues, schools and organizations. But there’s a problem: it’s not enough to have good intentions. What happens when people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, or queer want to be truly themselves in Jewish communal settings-- demonstrating everything from holding hands, to their less conventional dress, to bringing their own array of concerns and new philanthropic causes? What are the possible consequences when LGBTQ people seek leadership roles at all levels of communal involvement? What happens when some mainstream leaders and funders are uncomfortable with openly queer Jews having an
increasing presence in traditional spaces? Rabbi Steinlauf explores all of these issues through his unique experience as an openly gay community leader and Jewish professional. He shows us how to navigate the rapidly changing playing field of Jewish diversity. Familiar and comfortable with both LGBTQ and heteronormative perspectives, he shows us how to successfully move from ”inclusion” to full integration of LGBTQ Jews, as well as many other diverse groups. He further draws critical insights from this issue to address other challenges of our increasingly diverse community, including the growing gap between American Jewry and Israel, conflicting intergenerational values, and rifts between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews. Effectively navigating the move to greater diversity is critical to ensuring successful and more vibrant Jewish communities as millennials and younger generations come of age. Rabbi Steinlauf can help us identify and proactively engage the challenge of our dynamic society.
The Senior Rabbi who Came Out...and Not Much Happened!
The success story of a very public coming out and its implications for effectively navigating a rapidly changing and diversifying American Jewish community.
In October 2014, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf sent a letter to his large, storied Washington DC Conservative congregation, informing them that he was divorcing his wife and coming out as gay. The same day, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a piece in the Atlantic titled “When Your Rabbi Comes out as Gay, or We live in Remarkable Times.” In that piece, Goldberg talks of Steinlauf’s coming out as representing a “liminal moment” in American Jewish life. Poised between the total acceptance of the millennial generation and the discomfort and closeting of the older generations, Steinlauf’s journey of self-revelation and acceptance reveals a lot about the nature of the generational disjunctures playing out on all levels in our society. In this talk, Steinlauf draws from his experience to reveal his unique insights into the Jewish community’s successes and failures at adapting to changing times. As a a rabbi who grappled with identity issues, as a leader with decades of experience working in exclusively straight environments, as a generation X change-agent who speaks both generational “languages” of baby boomers and millennials, Steinlauf successfully transformed a declining congregation and made it into the one of the most vibrant and growing Conservative synagogues in America. Steinlauf traces much of his success to his unique ability to bridge different categories of identity and to live in the creative tension between many opposing drives and values. Along the way, he gained invaluable insights about the blind-spots and stumbling blocks that prevent the Jewish community from attracting and integrating more diverse members. Ultimately, he offers his insights and conclusions to help more communities, schools, programs and institutions bridge generational divides, welcome greater diversity, overcome fear and inertia, and embrace a vibrant Jewish future.
Why cultivating LGBTQ leaders is essential to successful and vibrant Jewish communal institutions.
Gil Steinlauf developed a reputation in Washington DC as a disruptive innovator. He systematically transformed a flagship Conservative synagogue, bringing it from the threat of irrelevance to a place of being a religious, spiritual, and cultural powerhouse in Washington. In this talk, Steinlauf explains that his ability to question what others haven’t questioned, to innovate in places where innovation was inconceivable, and to disrupt long-held expectations came from his long struggle of personal identity and feeling “different”, even as he occupied a position of central importance in a mainstream Jewish institution. Steinlauf argues the importance of Jewish institutions actively encouraging, and giving support to more LGBTQ people to positions of influence and leadership. In a time when so many Jewish institutions are in decline and struggling for membership, affiliation and funding, the presence of more LGBTQ people to question and creatively disrupt has never been more important.
Suggested Jewish Topics:
The Rabbi Who Came Out: My story and what it says about Judaism in the 21st century.
Teaching Justice to Supreme Court Justices and Torah to the President: My story as the Rabbi of Adas Israel in Washington.
Judaism and Homosexuality:
Myths, Truths and Lies.
Making Torah Personal: A radical new approach to reading the Bible, and transforming our lives.
Spiritual Innovation: The challenges and potential for synagogues and Judaism in the 21st century.
Are Jews White? Confronting racial identity and racism in the Jewish community.
Acknowledging the Unthinkable: Facing our doubts about God, Israel, and Judaism head-on in order to heal what is broken.
God is Reality: An exploration of what God can mean for those of us who have trouble believing.
Suggested Non-Jewish Topics:
The Power of Silence.
We live and work in a very noisy world. And it’s not just audible noise that we experience. There is a constant drone of ideas and pressures, expectations and judgments that constantly ring in our ears, in our minds, and even haunt our dreams. Gil Steinlauf, a leader in the practice of mindfulness and founder of the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, offers insights into how to find a quiet place in the midst of today’s hectic world, and how to use these insights to build a more peaceful and purposeful life for ourselves and for loved ones and colleagues.
How To be an Inspiring Public Speaker.
For most of us, public speaking is one of the most terrifying things we can do. Most of us just want to get through a speech, and doing it artfully or even effectively eludes us. Learn from a seasoned professional who went from being afraid of public speaking to becoming an inspirational speaker and leader--speaking before heads of state and inspiring audiences of thousands--all without notes! Gil Steinlauf was the senior rabbi of a major American congregation in Washington DC, and he presents his story of how he learned to speak publicly, and teaches his techniques in a way that is accessible, useful and fun.
Coming out: It’s not just for LGBTQ people anymore!
Gil Steinlauf was the spiritual leader of a large congregation. At age 45, he came out to his congregation--and to the world--as gay. Through that process of self-revelation, Steinlauf learned extraordinary lessons about the power of facing our fears and overcoming our blocks to living from our own authenticity. Through his example, he inspired and helped countless people, gay and straight, come out authentically as themselves and live the lives they always meant to live. In this talk, Steinlauf shares some of his insights to inspire us all to take this journey in our own lives, no matter who we are.
The Power of Speaking the Truth.
We all want to be people of integrity. And we all want workplaces of transparency. What does it mean to be a truly honest and straightforward person? In this talk, spiritual teacher Gil Steinlauf uses ancient Western and Eastern texts and wisdom traditions to show us how honesty is a deceptively simple and yet powerful tool in transforming our personal lives and workplaces for the better. Learn how the practice of “inclining toward the truth” is a difficult, yet attainable practice in becoming better in our relationships, at work, and in leadership.
Is Life Really About Happiness?
We work hard. We spend our lives hoping to make something of ourselves, and to leave a good legacy behind. We all have heard that life is about being “happy”. But what does that truly mean? Are we toiling and suffering now in hopes that we will be happy at some later date? Gil Steinlauf has spent decades teaching people, through his work and through his own example, the real meaning of happiness. In this informative and inspiring talk, Steinlauf shares his own and other’s wisdom to help you create a workable roadmap to finding what we actually all mean by happiness.
omehow most of us live our lives being fed ideas that were never ours that we accept without question. Over time, these ideas can erode our souls, cut us off from our authentic selves, and limit our potential. Drawing from a vast body of ancient and modern texts and knowledge, spiritual teacher Gil Steinlauf teaches us the practice of Inquiry and how it has fueled the great religious and societal movements in history. Steinlauf shows us how to adopt this process to our inner lives, to our relationships, and how to activate this process in the workplace to create a dynamic, creative, and effective environment for everyone.
What Success Really Means.
It’s a given that we all want to be financially successful in our work. But financial success is only a part of a truly successful life. In this talk, Gil Steinlauf, a former rabbi and wisdom teacher, teaches how to find true success even during difficult times. Specifically, he shows us all the ways we consciously and unconsciously see ourselves as victims of others more powerful than ourselves. By identifying, questioning, and overcoming our victim-scripts, we can open up channels not only to coming out of crises, but to finding true happiness and the best kinds of success in life.
True Humility: the Missing Piece in Transforming our Lives and our Society.
We live in a society that seems to reward hubris and arrogance; one that encourages egotism, self-promotion and toxic competition in the workplace. There is a better and more powerful way to live our lives and to make a difference--true humility. True humility is not self-deprecation, and it’s not even about putting others before ourselves. Humility is not an intention that we can set and then act out in our lives. True humility is the effect of a genuine spiritual life. Humility is what’s left when we learn to slough off what is not authentically ourselves and live from our deepest truth. Spiritual teacher Gil Steinlauf shows us, through many sources in ancient Western and Eastern wisdom texts, how to access the unshakable strength that comes from true humility, and how to be a force for good in all the spheres of our lives.
The Forgotten Art of Righteousness: How to be a True Leader in all Walks of Your Life.
In our time, we tend to think of the word “righteous” in negative ways. We associate it with being judgmental or even self-important. In this talk, spiritual teacher Gil Steinlauf helps us to reclaim the power of righteousness in our lives. Through ancient Western and Eastern wisdom teachings and texts, he shows us that the real core of righteousness is a well-cultivated sense of compassion for others, as well as a developed sense of the abundance of opportunities to correct what is out of balance in our lives around us. The practice of righteousness, far from putting us in judgment of others, brings us closer to the people in our lives. It makes us more effective contributors to our workplaces communities. Moreover, righteousness makes us happier and more generous in our interactions, and gives us the potential to inspire others to acts of justice in compassion in the world around us.
The Power of Patience.
In our world, impatience is rewarded. With the pace of communication, and the high-pressure expectations of our workplaces, forbearance and patience is often conflated with poor productivity and indecision. Spiritual teacher Gil Steinlauf shows us that, in fact, the capacity to forestall reactivity, to take our precious time, to take a breath and to inquire before we act is a rapidly disappearing artform in in the world. Through ancient Western and Eastern wisdom texts and teachings, Steinlauf shows us how to practice patience even in the most high-paced environments, and find inner balance, better judgment, and more effective productivity and leadership in all aspects of our work and our lives.