Join us at this Shabbat morning service welcoming the LGBTQIA community, led by Rabbi Fierstein, which will be followed by a community kiddush and a Torah discussion.
Save the date for these national conferences!
Keshet Teen Shabbaton
August 24-26, 2018
Capital Retreat Center, Waynesboro, PA
Keshet is hosting an LGBTQ Teen and Ally Summer Shabbaton in the Greater Baltimore/DC area. A great opportunity for a weekend of fun, community and learning for and by Jewish LGBTQ and ally teens! View details and register here
Eshel Parent Retreat
November 16-18, 2018
Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center, 5425 Mt. Gilead Rd., Reisterstown, MD 21136
Eshel has announced that their next annual national Parent Retreat for Orthodox Parents of LGBTQ Children will take place in the Baltimore area! View details here
Read about PFLAG's 45-year history as a life-saving resource for families of LGBTQ kids. Read here
JQ Baltimore is pleased to highlight a message of inclusion from one of our local clergy. This message is brought to us by Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
Telling Our Stories
We’ve got to tell our stories.
I first learned this lesson in queer life 20 years ago when I was invited to participate in hearings about gay marriage in Hartford, CT. I was there with Love Makes a Family, lobbying the legislature. I brought a picture of my family: my then partner and 6 month-old son. I told the legislators what he liked to play with, how we celebrated Shabbat together, and my fears about the protections my son would not have because his parents could not be legally married.
Love Makes a Family presented a huge spiral-bound book with color photos and family stories to each of the legislators in hopes of teaching them what our community was all about. We didn’t prevail then, but in telling our stories we moved the needle a bit. Just as importantly, we reminded ourselves of where we’d been and where we hoped one day to arrive, a place of equal rights, acceptance and opportunity.
In the middle of July, we’ll be reading from the first portion of the final book of Torah, Devarim (Deuteronomy). It begins, “These are the words that Moses said to all of Israel on the other side of the Jordan.” Moses tells the story of the Israelites’ journey over the last 40 years. He highlights certain facts and leaves others out, as all story-tellers do.
As he tells the history, Moses is doing what Jews after him have done so well, he is creating community through shared history and story. As David Shneer points out in Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, “For Jews, whose historical consciousness goes back further than almost anyone’s, history never has been or will be simply knowing the facts" (p. 233). We know who we are as Jews, in large measure, because of the stories we remember and retell.
For so many of us, telling our stories outside the queer community has been impeded by fear. Telling them inside the community is wonderful, but often confined to a single generation or two. Queer children of straight parents don’t have Bubbie and Zeydie stories to tell and pass on to next generations…yet. But Shneer reminds us, “Historical consciousness, which Jews understand as a religious and divine obligation, is something queer community needs more of," (p.233).
So, let’s tell our stories – to each other and to the world. It’s the way we know who we are.
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