Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pride Not Prejudice

A healthy and happy new year to everyone! This year, just in between the final blast of the shofar and the beginning of Sukkot, is October 11th. We all know about September 11th, especially as we commemorated its 1oth anniversary together at Memorial Field, but October 11th is also known as National Coming Out Day.

While not often talked about, NCOD is an internationally observed civil awareness day for coming out and the discussion about the LGBTQ community, rights, issues, and awareness. One of the many blessings of the Temple Beth Shalom community has been our openness and acceptance of our LGBTQ friends and family, and yet most of it has happened somewhat silently. How does it happen? It usually happens when I least expect it. Sudbury Farms, Trader Joe's, at the oneg on a Friday night, right before a young person becomes Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or prior to a funeral. Rabbi, I want to let you know about my ______ (fill in familiar relationship here)... He and his partner are ... She and her wife are... Did I ever share with you that ...

I have to admit that I love hearing these stories and expanding what I know about you and your family, and I think it is time that more people in your temple community can share these stories, experiences, and simchas. Many of you already know about our TBS Keshet group.

Keshet is the Hebrew word for rainbow and this group is comprised of lesbians, gays, and straight allies. Keshet is also a national organization started here in Boston whose mission is "to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews are fully included in all parts of the Jewish community." Continuing to grow and expand their own programming, Keshet has started the Keshet Parent and Family Connection as an opportunity to speak to other Jewish parents with LGBTQ children.

What I would like to ask, is that in honor of National Coming Out Day 2011, you email me and share with me some of the LGBTQ history in your own family. Talk to me about your cousin, your daughter, your son, your ex-spouse or even yourself. Be proud of who your family members are and if this is a challenge, let's talk about that too. No judgement.

I know that closet doors still exist for a variety of reasons and I am not asking you to "out" someone who is not ready to come out, but rather I invite you to open the door a bit wider so that together we can remind them that Temple Beth Shalom is welcoming and safe place.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I'm embarrassed to say that I was not aware of this group, but I'm am hardly surprised that it exists at TBS. One more reason (among many) to be proud of how open and inclusive our temple is.