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Archive for : LGBTQ

Pride Month Events 2013

Not sure how or where to celebrate Pride Month this year? Repair the World has got you covered!

The festivities begin during the last days of May and continue throughout the end of June, and there are events going on all around the country. Check out our roundup of fun, fabulous (and in many cases free!) events, talks, film screenings, parties, marches and shabbat dinners celebrating LGBTQ rights during Pride Month.

May 31: Join Keshet for “Erev” Pride Week Shabbat services and dinner in Sommerville, MA.
June 1: Congregation Am Tikva in Brooklyn, MA is hosting a Pride Liberation Seder – aka a retelling of the story of the LGBT liberation following the Passover seder model.

June 22 and 23: Chicago’s annual Pride Fest helps kick off summer in the second city!
June 24: Congregation Or Chadash is hosting a beach-side BBQ and Shabbat service to launch the city’s Pride Week.

June 14: Shabbat services and a picnic lunch are at the heart of this Keshet-inspired Pride Month event.

Los Angeles
May-June: There are a ton of events going on in West Hollywood before and during Pride Month, from a discussion of LGBTQ rights around the globe on June 18, to the official LA Pride Parade on June 9. For more events in and around Los Angeles, click here.

June 5: Temple Israel of Greater Miami is hosting a ru’ach pride seder, celebrating the freedoms and remembering the challenges of the LGBT community.

New York
June 22: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is hosting a multigenerational pride picnic in the park.
June 28: Join other New Yorkers for the Pride Week Kickoff Rally at Pier 26.

San Fran
June 9 Keshet is hosting a LGBTQ mixer and Pride Month picnic in Delores Park.
June 28: Join the Jewish Community Federation for a gay pride Shabbat celebration.
June 29-30 San Franciscans know how to party during their annual Pride festival.

June 28: JConnect in Seattle will host their annual Pride Shabbat with services, music, food and mingling.

Washington DC
May 29: Join in on the fun at the Big Queer Jewish Pride Kick Off Happy Hour event hosted at Mova Lounge.
June: The Washington DC JCC’s LGBT group GLOE is hosting several fun events, all worth checking out.
June 8: Join in the annual Capitol Pride Parade, and March with GLOE.

Did we miss a great Pride Month event? We want to hear about it! Share it below or tweet us at @repairtheworld #pridemonth.

Pride Interview: Shanna Katz and Keshet

During Pride Month, Repair the World is featuring interviews with the people and organizations who are on the forefront of the LGBTQ movement. This week: Colorado native (and current Denver resident), Shanna Katz, talks about her volunteer work with Keshet – an organization “working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life” – and the important role Keshet has played in her own journey.

How did you get involved with Keshet?
When I moved back to Colorado from Arizona in early 2011, I felt very engaged in the queer community, but very disconnected from the Jewish community. Several months later, I started getting emails from friends saying “I saw this poster for a queer Hanukkah party that you might like.” I checked it out and thought it looked fun, plus it was being held at my favorite vegetarian restaurant. I hesitated because my partner is a transman and not Jewish, so I wasn’t sure he’d be welcome. But it turned out that there were people there from all walks of life and Judaism. It immediately felt like a safe space to be my kind of Jewish and talk about issues relevant to the LGBT and Jewish communities. For the last year and a half since then, I’ve gotten much more involved.

In what ways have you gotten involved?
I’m on Keshet’s Young Adult Planning Team. There’s this fear across the Jewish community that we’re losing people in our 20s-30s, so the original idea of the team was to make sure that the events we were planning felt relevant and meaningful to the younger adult community. We got a grant through a local foundation that paid for a year-long salon series, so we planned fun and educational events like a talk on transgender issues within Judaism. I taught a class on sexuality and Judaism, and we hosted a spoken word performance by Harvey Katz’s Athens Boys Choir. We held the salon series in coffee shops, bars, people’s homes – places that felt distinctly different from the traditional Shabbat service space.

How did you spread the word about the series?
We put flyers out at local synagogues and bars, and got an add in the local queer newspaper. We felt like we had the Jewish spaces pretty well covered, and more wanted to find queer Jewish people who did not typically come to Jewish events. The salon series did pretty well – my class, for example, had about 20-25 people.

Are you involved in other Keshet programs?
Through Keshet I’ve volunteered for our local meals on wheels program, and we have an upcoming event with Ekar, a local urban farm that provides food for Jewish family services. Each year, we march together with other Jewish groups in the Pride Parade, and recently my partner and I hosted a Keshet Shabbat. We alternate between religious and non-religious locations and usually have a lay-led service followed by a potluck. Our Queer Seder, which we hold during Passover is also one of the largest in the country. Last year we had about 150 people attend.

What role does Keshet play in your own life?
Growing up, I had a bat mitzvah and was president of Hillel during college, but then I lost my connection with the Jewish community. I had no ideas Jews had something to say about issues I cared about. So for me, Keshet been an important pathway back into Judaism, and I think it has the potential to do the same for many other people.

Find out more about Keshet’s work at their website.

Pride Month 2013

June is LGBTQ Pride Month – 30 days dedicated to honoring the impact people who are lesbian, gay, bi, and transgendered have had on the world. (June was chosen in commemoration of the famous Stonewall Riots.) The month is also host to Pride Day, when cities around the globe celebrate with fun festivals and marches meant to spread awareness about LGBTQ issues.

Here at Repair the World we are celebrating Pride all June long, offering stories focused on LGBTQ causes, featuring organizations doing great work to promote rights for all, and publishing interviews with leaders and change makers in the community.

The tide towards rights for the LGBTQ community is turning, and great achievements have been made since the first Pride March was held in New York City in 1969. But in America and around the globe, there is much work to be done to ensure safety, rights, and an end of discrimination for everyone, regardless of who they love or how they identify.

Check back on Repair the World’s blog often during the month of June for opportunities to get involved and make a difference! Here are the great ways we’re already celebrating Pride Month:

Pride Month Events (find one in your area this month!)
Breaking Norms by Breaking Glass (Jewish, LGBTQ, Celeb Weddings!)
Pride and Prayer (LGBTQ-Friendly Synagogues)
LGBTQ Movements Around the World – what’s going on globally
Top 10 LGBTQ Movies
Pride Interview: Shanna Katz and Keshet
Pride Interview: Justin Spiro and JQY
Pride Interview: Ross Murray and GLAAD
Pride Interview: Shane Windmeyer and Campus Pride

How are you celebrating Pride Month? Tweet us at @repairtheworld #pridemonth.

Shabbat Service: Jacob’s Disguise and Claiming Rights for Uganda’s LGBTI Community

Shabbat Service is a weekly bit of Torah-inspired do-gooding, brought to you by Repair the World and our grantee-partner American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Read on to see how these ancient stories can apply today. Seem far fetched? Check it out:

The story: This week’s parsha (Torah portion), Toldot, includes a story filled with family strife, disguises, and deception. As this week’s dvar tzedek co-author, Lisa Exler writes, “At his mother Rebecca’s urging, Jacob covers his arms and neck with animal skin, disguising himself as his hairier brother Esau in order to fool their aging, blind father into giving Jacob the blessing of the first born.”

The “takeaway”: Exler writes that Jacob had the choice of whether or not to disguise his identity – and whether or not he made the right choice is up for debate. But “for many people around the world today, especially those who identify as LGBTI, disguising their true identities is not a choice, or a means to an end…but a necessity.” Sadly, when they reveal their true selves, like at the recent LGBTI Pride Parade in Uganda (the country’s first), they become more vulnerable to violence, discrimination, and oppression. The situation is dire: LGBTI people’s lives are literally at risk – just for being who they are. Most recently, a highly controversial anti-homosexuality bill was introduced in the Ugandan parliament. And yet for any change to happen, they and their allies must collectively stand up and stand out.

The “to-do”: Support the work of organizations in Uganda and abroad (like AJWS) that are working to create a safe, welcoming community for the country’s LGBTI citizens. And help put pressure on companies and governments around the world to lend their support.

Read the full Torah commentary, on which this excerpt is based, over at AJWS’ website. And for more great texts, commentary and Jewish learning resources on social justice, check out the On 1 Foot database.

Your Guide to Pride

June is LGBT Pride Month, – a month that remembers the Stonewall Riots of 1969, while honoring the impact that LGBT community has had – and are having – around the world!

Repair the World wishes to honor this special month by offering some exciting ways you can get involved to advocate for a life of equality. We’re also highlighting some amazing LGBTQ heroes who are working to end hate across the world.

Inspiring People from the LGBTQ Community

Fagyele Ben MiriamFaygele Ben Miriam, Same-Sex Marriage’s Jewish Pioneer
Tablet Magazine profiles the incredible activist career of Faygele ben Miriam – a man who started Washington state’s battle over marriage more than 40 years ago. Written by Pulitzer Prizer winner Eli Sanders. This is a MUST read. Read more »

Brittany McMillanBrittany McMillan, Founder of #SpiritDay
At just 15, Brittany ignited a national movement in support of LGBTQ youth when she started Spirit Day. What began in 2010 as a Tumblr page devoted to the memory of LGBTQ or LGBTQ-perceived teens who lost their lives to suicide, turned into a global event that inspires millions of people to wear purple each year in a stand against bullying. Learn more »

Noam ParnessNoam Parness, LGBTQ community organizer, activist, volunteer & all-around rock star
Noam Parness is a 22-year old rising senior at Queens College (and all around inspiring guy), who organizes for the LGBTQ community – both on campus and off. Noam took some time out of his schedule to talk about speaking on National Coming Out Day, the importance of building coalitions within a movement, and how Jewish tradition fuels his work. Learn more »

Upcoming LGBTQ events and opportunities

BornsteinKate Bornstein at Beit Simchat Torah Congregation
On June 22, meet the inspiring Kate Bornstein, Jewish transgender activist, theorist, playwright & performer. Her book, “Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws” is an underground best seller, propelling Kate into an international position of advocacy for marginalized youth. She’s been honored by the NYC Council, received Keshet’s Hachamat Lev award, and garnered praise from civil rights groups around the globe. Learn more »

LGBTQ Teen ShabbatonCelebrate being yourself! Jewish LGBTQ Teen Shabbaton
This August, join Jewish LGBTQ and allied teens for a weekend of fun, social activities and supportive learning sessions at the Isabella Freedman. Presented in partnership with Keshet and UJA-Federation of New York. Learn more »

Camp PrideCAMP PRIDE Summer Leadership Camp
Let’s go camp! Now you can develop friendships for a lifetime with other LGBTQ and ally college students, build your leadership skills and take action as a social justice advocate for a safer and more inclusive campus. Learn more »

Ways to Get Involved

GLSENStart a GSA at your school!
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Did you know that the first GSA was the idea of a straight student? Find out how to start your own GSA or join an existing network. Learn more »

Trevor ProjectVolunteer with The Trevor Project!
Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. Trevor recognizes that volunteers are the backbone of the organization, and offers ways to get involved at all ages. Are you interested in volunteering? Learn more »

Human Rights CampaignVolunteer with Human Rights Campaign!
Volunteering with HRC empowers you to be an important part in creating change for our country. Work with HRC to educate the public about critical issues in the LGBTQ community, mobilize your community to take action, expand the voice and visibility of the LGBTQ community, and bolster a a nationwide effort to end hate and discrimation. Learn more »

Pledge to Speak out against intolerance!

It Gets Better ProjectIt Gets Better Project
Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are, and growing up isn’t easy. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBTQ people the leavels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years.. Pledge to speak up against hate and intolerance. Learn more »

The Bully ProjectThe Bully Project
A year ago, BBYO teens launched Stand UP for Each Other: A Campaign for Respect and Inclusion, a grassroots effort focused on creating safe and welcome communities for all Jewish teens. Show your support for the Stand UP Campaign by helping BBYO and The Bully Project raise awareness around this very serious issue and put an end to bullying. Learn more »

Do Not Stand Idly ByDo Not Stand Idly By, a Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives
Do Not Stand Idly By asks the Jewish community to pledge to end homophobic bullying and harrassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities. As a signatory, you are supporting an fully inclusive Jewish community, and pledging to speak out when witnessing intolerance. Learn more »

More resources

Check out these additional resources on how to help make this world a more inclusive society for all.

So, how will you make this world a better place? Let us know @repairtheworld.


Monday Morning Link Roundup

Yesterday was Fathers’ Day, and in honor of the special occasion, here are some inspiring reads and service opportunities, both dad-related and not, from around the blogosphere.


  • (Robyn Stegman) A blogger gushes about the influence her dad has had on her service work, and embarks on a unique fundraising project to say thanks. (You can help out with the fundraising efforts here.)
  • (Take Part) The state of Florida gets one step closer to shedding its title as the only state in the nation with an explicit ban on gay adoption.
  • (JTA) In related news, next week (June 27-29) three Jewishly-focused LGBT advocacy groups will join together in the Bay Area with more than 100 leaders of the Jewish LGBT movement for a first-of-its-kind visioning meeting.
  • (Good) Writer and business-management theoriest Tony Schwartz is fighting back on behalf of the long-lost lunch break. Starting June 23, every Wednesday is Take Back Your Lunch day – join the fight by enjoying your lunch.
  • (How to Change the World) An oldie-but-goodie essay discusses how to change the world by being a mensch.
  • (JTA) Philanthropists Eli and Edyth Broad recently pledged to donate 75% of their personal fortune (which stands at about 5.7 billion) during their lifetime. Read more about the incredible couple here.


  • (JustCoz) A new online platform JustCoz enables non-profits to expand their social media reach by “donating” a tweet a day to the site. Register here to begin spreading the word about the causes your NGO or charity is passionate about on JustCoz. (FYI – Judging by names alone, at least two of the three founders, Yotam Troim and Ronen Raz are members of the tribe.)