The Case for Inclusion: Why the Embrace and Equality of LGBTQ+ Jews Matters More Than Ever
Join Asher Gellis, Founder & Executive Director of LA-based non-profit JQ International, JQ's Managing Director Arya Marvazy, and AJU's Deb Engel Kollin to discuss our collective Jewish responsibility to affirm the inclusion of LGBTQ+ Jews in all areas of Jewish life.
Asher Gellis, founder and Executive Director of JQ International, an LGBTQ and ally Jewish nonprofit that creates community through identity building programs, provides teen education, and national support services and resources. A native of Los Angeles, Asher was raised within Conservative Movement, a product of Adat Ari El Day School, Ramah, and United Synagogue Youth. As a young adult, Asher earned a BA in Political Theory from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Prior to launching JQ International in 2004, Asher served as the Regional Director for Hadassah’s Young Judaea in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. He created curriculum for the Bureau of Jewish Education in Los Angeles and guided teen scholastic credited Israel tours. For six years following earning his MBA, Asher worked in real estate asset management while simultaneously developing and launching JQ International.
Arya Marvazy, M.S.O.B. Born and raised in Tehrangeles, CA, Arya earned his BA in Psychology at UC San Diego, and a master's in Organizational Behavior from NYU. Twelve years into his non-profit career, he currently serves as the Managing Director of JQ, an LGBTQ+ and Jewish organization focused on education, outreach, and support in service of inclusion and equality for all. In 2017, Arya launched the JQ Persian Pride Fellowship, an interfaith LGBTQ+ and ally initiative training the next generation of leaders. His dedication to the Jewish and LGBTQ+ community earned him a spot on LA Jewish Journal's 30 Under 30 list, IranWire's 50 Iranian-Americans You Should Know, and most recently the 2019 JPro Young Professional Award.
Deb Engel Kollin serves as the Relationship Manager for the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program. Deb previously spent twelve years as Director of Operations for Pressman Academy, and has worked in various settings in Los Angeles and Israel as a Jewish educator and community builder for decades. She holds an MA in Jewish Education from American Jewish University.