Our Pride Havdallah Service: June 18, 2016/5776
With reverence and remembrance, our shul commemorated Pride in 2016. At this our 10th annual one, allies and LGBTQ people stood to recite the names of all those killed in Orlando one week before. As she has done for the past decade, Rabbi Goldberg led the service. She spoke movingly about the plight of queers world-wide while also relaying stories of triumph and joy. Chazzan Gesundheit sang Hebrew prayers and English songs with her customary grace, and Paula Wolfson finished the service with a rousing, musical call-to-action. We heard from a gay man who recently fled Russia and awaits word on the fate of his husband attempting to come to Canada, and from a representative of JIAS on the work they are doing for refugees and immigrants, LGBTQ and straight. Many who attended rallied afterward to offer help to those in need: that included the possibility of refuge in an observant home for an Orthodox Jewish teenager who has recently come out and been ostracized by his parents, as described by Elise, a young member who spoke from the bimah. Each celebration of Pride has contributed to Shir Libeynu’s roster of milestones, from 2007 when we were the first shul to do so and including in 2014, when we were part of World Pride’s multi-faith initiatives. This year’s tragedy in the U.S. added particular poignancy to the service.