Shabbat with Pride

May 29, 2018 by Leanne Shelton
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Members of Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) has celebrated its inaugural “Pride Shabbat” .

May 25 was chosen by its proximity to Sydney’s Pride Festival which celebrates LGBTI art, cinema, and events. However, as pointed out in Senior Rabbi Nicole Roberts’ welcoming words, it was also opening night of Vivid, “when a rainbow of colours annually lights up the Sydney sky and cityscape. What better time for a celebration of diversity and inclusion!”

Rabbi Roberts continued, “A few years ago, Vivid first came to Chatswood. Tonight, Chatswood welcomes Pride Shabbat.”

Organised by members of NSTE’s Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, including NSTE staff members Dave ‘Dudu’ Gottlib and Sarona Perez, the evening began with Kabbalat Shabbat led by Rabbi Roberts and Cantor Ted Labow on guitar. Special guest speaker, Dayenu (Sydney’s Jewish LGBTI group) President, Kim Gotlieb, delivered the d’rash, just before Rabbi Nicole invited all newcomers to the shul to ascend the bimah for Aleinu.

After the service, everyone joined in a delightful wine and cheese gathering, lingering awhile to chat and meet new people.

“Our closing song was Ani V’atah (“You and I”) which has lyrics that speak of changing the world, one by one,” says Rabbi Roberts. “One person at a time, one partnership at a time, one service at a time, we will draw people in from the margins of Jewish life and help them feel they are an integral part of our community.”

Embracing diversity was a prominent theme in Mr Gotlieb’s address, as well. He said “It is fitting on this inaugural Pride Shabbat that our Torah portion concludes with a beautiful ritual in which each of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel brings an offering for the inauguration of the altar. While their gifts are identical, they are brought on different days and each one is individually described. For me, this calls on us to be very mindful of our individuality and uniqueness, while also realising that at our core…we are all identical in the eyes of God.”

NSTE’s first annual “Pride Shabbat” service is part of the work of the NSTE Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, which seeks ways to make our community more accessible and inclusive.

“It was really lovely to see and meet new smiling faces at shul,” says Immediate Past President, Mark Ginsburg. “Seeing everyone up on the bimah during Aleinu was heart-warming.”

 

Comments

One Response to “Shabbat with Pride”
  1. Michael Barnett says:

    It’s heartening to see a high standard being set for inclusion, acceptance and celebration of LGBTIQ diversity both within and beyond the Jewish community.

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