Rabbis Tanya Sakhnovich (EHRS), Adrian Michael Schell (Wimbledon) and Emily Reitsma-Jurman joined the Keshet UK group at the Pride parade in London last Shabbat.
The night before, Rabbi Adrian Schell led together with Rabbi René Pferzel (Kingson Liberal) and colleagues from all over Europe in a Pride Shabbat service, bringing together not only the Wimbledon Reform and Kingston Liberal communities, but Jews from many places in Europe. In his opening remarks, Rabbi Schell said:
“This pride marks the 30th anniversary of the first pride Chayim and I went to. Pride back then was different. Pride was small, much less public, and for sure not a mainstream event in Munich of 1993. The route we were allowed to walk was only via site roads, no rainbow flags along the road, no big trucks, just us, a smallish group of people who were proud of who they are and frustrated by the fact to be treated as second class citizens.
Things have changed in many ways since. No question, we live in a society that is much more inclusive 30 years later. I for example feel blessed to have a spiritual home in my congregation in Wimbledon, a congregation I can serve as a rabbi.
I feel honoured that I can call on so many of my fellow congregants and friends as my allies when I raise my voice because still, too many, of our LGBTIQ+ siblings are treated with less respect, dignity, and empathy as they deserve.
As Jews we know and understand that discrimination knows no borders. As Jews we feel the pain others feel, when they are victims of discrimination, hatred, anti-Semitism, or any form of oppression. We stand up in solidarity, we raise our voices and, if nothing else is possible, we weep and we mourn together, being one body and soul, because we know, and we understand.
And tonight, with this service, we will do the same, we share the joy, the hopes, the dreams of all who identify as LGBTIQ+ and their Allies. We will sing, we will laugh, and we will celebrate. Our milestone and the milestones of so many, but we will also raise our voices, condemning the attacks on our siblings in Russia, Hungary, Turkey, Uganda. We will declare that trans-rights are human rights, and we will weep with and mourn those who have suffered oppression and have lost their lives, because others couldn’t see the divine reflection in them, as we see it.
Pride Shabbat is more than a celebration of the diversity within our community, it is a statement of Torah: If only one person is not enjoying the fullness of human dignity in this world, then this world is still a broken world, and we are commanded to bring healing into this world.
May this Shabbat be a Shabbat of Tikkun Olam. May this Shabbat be a Shabbat of healing and joy.
Thank you for joining us tonight, here in Kingston and all over Europe. Shabbat Shalom and happy pride.