June 26, 2020, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Tune into services on Friday evening, June 26 at 6 p.m. for a special service that will celebrate Pride through Jewish themes and texts, beautiful music, and personal storytelling. You can join us via the Livestream on our website or on Facebook. Fun fact: this year, our service is the same evening as the 5th anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage a fundamental right in all 50 states.
A Message from Rabbi Lori Levine on PRIDE at Shaare Emeth
June 12, 2020
We teach quite often in our community that the name Yisrael itself means “one who wrestled with God or “God-wrestler.” Identity is one area where we have struggled, questioned, and fought the most as a people. We have been known by many names in many places: Jews. Hebrews. Israelites. People of the Book. A Light to the Nations. The Chosen People. As Jews, we understand that the journey to discover who we are and to be proud of what we stand for is not easy, but it is worth all the wrestling and the struggles. From our ancestor Jacob, who became Israel, we learn that wrestling ultimately leads to blessing. Our collective memory compels us to engage in the project of uncovering who we are and our place in the world. As former strangers in a strange land, we know that finding yourself can lead to liberation.
I believe that these are all lessons we as a Jewish community can uplift and honor during Pride month, which happens every June. For LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning/queer) individuals, this constant process of self-determination and communal liberation is a core part of what we celebrate during Pride. Even though Pride is now mainstream, this year many queer leaders have encouraged us to return to the roots of the movement—the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ liberation and freedom. Activists, authors, and historians have recently been reminding the world that we have been here before, and that riots have long been a part of the struggle for equality and civil rights, especially in the gay community. Pride occurs in June because in the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. Tensions quickly escalated as patrons resisted arrest and a growing crowd of bystanders fought back against the officers, led by trans women of color like Marcia P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie. New York’s LGBTQ community, fed up after years of harassment by authorities, broke out in neighborhood riots that went on for three days. A year after the Stonewall riots, the nation’s first Gay Pride marches were held. In 2016 the area around the Stonewall Inn, still a popular nightspot today, was designated a national monument.
A year ago, Congregation Shaare Emeth took part in a community-wide effort to increase our collective knowledge around issues of gender and sexuality. As a congregation deeply committed to inclusion and celebrating diversity, many of our leaders and staff members participated in trainings to learn more and update our resources, led by Keshet, the leading national Jewish LGBTQ organization. We discovered an opportunity to create more publicity around our inclusion efforts. We convened a group of community members to fulfill these goals, and we want to invite all of you to join us.
For the next few weeks in Shaare Mail and in other communication channels, we will be sharing resources for celebrating Pride this summer. Curated by our Keshet Team, they will include books, movies, podcasts, virtual programming and more. We encourage you to check them out and join us.