Please join our monthly support group for Orthodox
(or formally Orthodox) LGBTQ, co-sponsored by Eshel and JQ Baltimore. We have a new location that better serves the needs of both our Baltimore and DC participants. View details for June meeting here.
Join GLOE - The Kurlander Program for GLBT Outreach & Engagement
and their community partners for a weekend of Pride celebrations! View details here
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
JQ Baltimore is pleased to highlight a message of inclusion from one of our local clergy. This message is brought to us by Rabbi Jeremey Fierstien, Executive Director of UMBC Hillel.
“Is it worth it, let me work it…” - Missy Elliot
“Through the act of fulfilling mitzvot (divine commandments) we are able to uncover hidden sparks of divine light [a.k.a. Khokhma = ancient or divine wisdom] that are embedded within the material world. This is taught to us in Psalms 104:24, which says “with wisdom You made them all,” meaning that all of God’s creation was created with wisdom [embedded within].” – Sefat Emet, Rabbi Aryeh Leib Alter
The holiday of Shavuot celebrates the national experience of Divine revelation at Mt. Sinai. The Jewish mystical tradition understands Divine revelation, a.k.a. Khokhma = wisdom, to be ongoing and ever present. Further, our job is to unearth the morsels of wisdom embedded in the material world and fulfill one of the goals of creation, to foster meaningful relationships with humanity, corporeality and ultimately the Divine. According to the Sefat Emet, Rabbi Aryeh Leib Alter, this act of fulfillment can be achieved by manifesting the values set forth in the Torah through performance of the “mitzvoth,” the commandments.
We learn in the creation story, “And God created humanity in God’s image, in the image of God humanity was created..." (Genesis 1:27). This verse can be seen as the foundational value through which we engage in our relationships, which are to be infused from the beginning with holiness and respect. A short time later we receive two of the earliest commandments in the Torah when it states, “God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to work it and guard it (Genesis 2.15).” Working the garden refers to the responsibility of exposing the ever present revelation hidden in our world by manifesting our chosen values daily. But, what does it mean to guard the garden?
The Kedushat Levi, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev said, “When one wants to raise the spark, one must cleave to God’s attribute of 'hesed,' translated as loving-kindness.” In this metaphor the act of guarding the garden is to infuse our work with the value of loving-kindness. We must guard our relationships with our fellow humans, the world, and the Divine from harm by always approaching our work through the attribute of hesed. Only then will we be able to tap into the ever present ancient wisdom that lies beneath the surface and bring forth meaning and harmony in our daily life. And yes Missy, it is worth it, we should work it... put our thing down, flip it and reverse it.
Rabbi Jeremy Fierstien
Executive Director UMBC Hillel
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