Rabbi Menachem Penner
Chairman of the Board, Co-Founder
Rabbi Menachem Penner is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Kesher Families, a non-profit focused on providing support to observant Jewish families with a loved one who identifies as LGBTQ+. He was interviewed on a groundbreaking 18Forty podcast with his son, Gedalia, where they discussed the challenges they faced together following Gedalia’s coming out at age 15. Rabbi Penner and his wife both speak publicly about their experience with the goal of educating and sensitizing the Orthodox world to the realities of families like theirs. In 2022, Rabbi Penner held a zoom webinar for over twenty school principals, providing them with information, tools and advice for understanding their LGBTQ+ students and the challenges they face. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Penner also conduct individual sessions for Kesher’s families, providing support in a warm and empathetic environment.
Rabbi Penner is the Max and Marion Grill Dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University, where he himself received semicha. He is proud to serve the institution from which he received his formative education. Rabbi Penner served as the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Holliswood in Queens for 20 years and is now the Rabbi Emeritus. He is a much sought after lecturer in communities worldwide.