Rain on parade fails to dampen spirits

March 4, 2012 by Roy Freeman
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Over 105 members, friends and supporters braved pouring rain in Sydney last night to march with Dayenu’s float in this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

Getting ready pic: Tomer Hasson

Dayenu, the Jewish Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex organisation is headed by Roy Freeman. He reports for J-Wire:

The float pic: Tomer Hasson

Happy Girls pic: Tomer Hasson

“Marching with us were members of Jewish youth groups Netzer and Habonim as well as a number of visitors from overseas including Rabbi Roderick Young who arrived from the UK earlier this week. One of Dayenu’s straight supporters marched with us even though the Parade was taking place on the night before her wedding! We wish her and her husband a hearty Mazel Tov and thank her for choosing to spend her last night of freedom with us!

In keeping with the float’s Purim theme, our marchers were dressed as kings and queens, many of them in drag, and we all danced to Shalom Aleichem and Dana International the entire parade route from Hyde Park to Centennial Park. While the rain ranged from light to torrential, our marchers stayed in good spirits and wowed the 300,000 strong crowds.

On Friday evening more than 120 people joined Dayenu at Woollahra’s Emanuel Synagogue for the annual Mardi Gras Shabbat Service and Dinner. It was a great night with many new faces and some of the founders of Dayenu. Our guest speaker was Vic Alhadeff, CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, who spoke about his time as Jewish News editor when Dayenu first participated in the parade in 2000 and the furor it caused at the time. He also spoke of the importance of Dayenu and how members of the Jewish GLBTI community can and should become more involved, not just with Dayenu but with the wider Jewish community in order to build support and acceptance for GLBTI Jews.”

Roy Freeman also spoke telling the Dinner about his imminent move to Israel and how he hoped that Dayenu would continue and grow under its new leadership. He also outlined emotionally  his own coming out and why Dayenu had been important to him in helping him meet other gay and lesbian Jews. He said he hoped that Dayenu would continue to be a beacon of hope for closeted GLBTI Jews and that it may help them understand that it’s possible to be out and proud and to keep a strong Jewish identity.

Freeman told J-Wire that Dayenu had 215 members on its Facebook group and 150 on its Yahoo mailing list.


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