Get together with our Baltimore/DC Eshel family. Join us in this intimate, confidential setting to meet others, like yourself, in the extended Eshel network. Baltimore/DC Eshel Support groups are co-sponsored by JPride Baltimore. RSVP here.
Baltimore/DC Parent Meeting
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 • 7 - 8:30 pm
For traditional Jewish parents of LGBT+ people who may be struggling with their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity and/or wish to connect with other parents like themselves. Baltimore/DC Eshel Support groups are co-sponsored by JPride Baltimore RSVP here.
PFLAG Monthly Meetings
PFLAG offers all kinds of resources, as well as several kinds of monthly support meetings in both Howard County and Baltimore County.
For centuries, the study of Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism—was off limits to almost everyone. It was thought to be far too powerful and too sexually charged to share with the masses. But why was it so secretive? What hidden powers did the ancient rabbis believe it had? And what power can learning it hold for us today?
This summer we'll be running THREE Queer Talmud Camps, with two back-to-back Queer Talmud Camps at Walker Creek Ranch! Come for one, come for two, come for three, but definitely come 😉. AND we're excited to be spreading some Queer Talmud love to the east coast with a new camp at Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. Read more here.
A Retreat for Orthodox Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews
JAN. 18-20, 2019 FALLS VILLAGE, CT
During our annual weekend, we gather in this ever-growing community of formerly Orthodox/currently Orthodox/traditional/Ortho-curious folks and anyone who wants to experience a traditional Shabbat with other LGBTQ Jews. During Shabbat we get to know each other, learn, sing, and schmooze, and Saturday night we share our talents and have lots of fun! On Sunday we offer exciting out-of-the-box learning opportunities. Learn more here.
Isabella Freedman Retreat Center
January 18-20, 2019
The deadline for this annual retreat is approaching soon. Register here!
JPride Baltimore is pleased to highlight a message of inclusion from one of our local clergy.
This message is brought to us by Rabbi Kim Blumenthal, Bet Chaverim in Columbia, MD
It Does Get Better
I once had a colleague who often greeted people with the phrase, “Does it get any better than this?!?” Said with joy and enthusiasm the greeting was generally well received and seen in context as his desire to remark upon the encounter as a blessing. But there were times when I found myself quite put off by this greeting. Because while from his vantage point the moment in time was marked by goodness, I might offer the statement with a different inflection, one that would suggest, “please tell me it gets better than this.” Sometimes we need to be reminded to see the blessing in our days. Other times we need to be reminded that we can overcome obstacles—that things can, indeed, get better.
I reflected upon this memory a few weeks ago as we lit the eighth and final candle on the Hanukkah menorah. The tradition of lighting the Hanukkah menorah invites us to recall the miracle of the holiday by adding an additional flame each night. The Talmud recounts the argument between the ancient sages Hillel and Shammai. Shammai instructed that the Hanukkah menorah should be lit with eight candles on the first night, seven on the second and so forth. From the perspective of re-enacting the story of the oil that lasted longer than expected, allowing the Temple to be resanctified, Shammai’s position makes sense. The light would start bright and gradually diminish. However, Hillel, whose position we ultimately follow, taught that we should light candles to correspond to the day of the holiday, one on the first night, two the second, and so forth. Hillel taught that we go up in matters of holiness. Our experience of holiness in connection to the holiday grows with each passing day, and that is represented by the flame burning brighter each night. Hillel’s responds to the rhetorical question of “does it get any better than this,” by acknowledging that we are always striving to do better. Our tradition of adding to the flames on the Hanukkah menorah each night allows us to express our hope that things will continue to move in the direction of progress. This message has relevance in many matters spanning the personal, communal and global and incorporating both the holy and the profane.
By adding to the light each night of Hanukkah we symbolically expressed our prayers for progress. As the holiday has now passed, we are left without the presence of the light. But our vision of the light which grew each night of the holiday is burned into our memory, serving as a reminder that each new day holds potential—somebody is seeking a new, better day. May we be the conduits of progress in our lives and our world.
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