|PRIDE in our Community|
One of the oldest Jewish symbols is the Rainbow. Noah’s rainbow represents diversity and peace. All the colors of the rainbow co-exist side by side in a visual symphony. At Shaaray Tefila we display a Rainbow Flag on the bima, the high place of our sanctuary, to promote a message of inclusion to all who enter our doors. I would like this message to go beyond our sanctuary. My vision of a truly welcoming congregation includes erecting a sign to greet people as they enter our grounds with words like:
“Shalom Aleichem – Welcome in Peace”
Our congregation honors diversity and is a safe place for people of every color, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7)
I believe a loud and proud message of inclusion furthers the Torah’s teaching that “All humans are created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27)
I am proud our congregation is Celebrating Pride Shabbat. Reform Judaism was the first movement to champion LBGTQ inclusion. Our seminary, Hebrew Union College was the first rabbinical school to ordain LGBTQ+ rabbis and cantors. Inclusion is rooted in the Torah. “All humans are created in Betzelem Elohim, in the image of God.” The Book of Genesis is unequivocal. It does not say only Jews or only straight people are in the image of God. All human life reflects the Divine Spirit. I am proud that children in our congregation who have two moms or two dads are never treated like second class citizens. Everyone is embraced as full members of our Misphucha (family.)
I pray for a day (Bayom hahu) when inclusion will be natural. Imagine a world in which we did not need to set aside time to remind ourselves of the mitzvah of acceptance of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity.
We are all created in the Divine image. Please join us tonight as we gather under the rainbow of inclusion and celebrate Pride Shabbat. It’s a Mitzvah.