Celebrating Pride Month & Al Hanisim for Pride Shabbat

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Pride Sameach! Happy Pride Month!

We celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement.

When Yosef and I lived in New York City, we had the blessing of being part of the community at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), where Yosef served as a Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern. Founded in 1973, CBST is the world’s largest LGBTQ+ synagogue. The evening the Marriage Equality Act in New York was signed into law on June 24th, 2011, we were celebrating Pride Shabbat with the CBST community. During services, as the news reached the sanctuary, we leapt from the pews in cheers of jubilation. After services, a stream of singing and dancing Jews made our way from Chelsea to join other revelers in front of the Stonewall Inn. On that memorable Shabbat, we danced the hora in the streets of the West Village.

Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, who served CBST for more than a decade, and who is now the Dean of the Rabbinical School at JTS, wrote a special Al hanisim prayer to be chanted each Pride Shabbat. Al hanisim prayers of gratitude were created for Purim and Hanukkah, holidays that were established in the rabbinic period to celebrate the survival of the Jewish people. We recite another Al hanisim on Yom HaAtzmaut composed in the twentieth century in celebration of Israel’s independence. Rabbi Cohen’s prayer “was written in that tradition to express gratitude for the triumph of the human spirit with divine help to overcome oppression.”

We celebrate our LGBTQ+ family and friends at Shaare Torah this month and every day.

We will stand with you and fight for you always as we continue on the path to liberation.

You are beautiful, beloved and worthy of dignity and life, exactly as you are.

We are grateful to Rabbi Ayelet Cohen for the moving prayer we share with you as we enter this first Shabbat of Pride Month.

Al Hanisim for Pride Shabbat

We thank You for the miraculous deliverance,

for the heroism and for the triumphs in battle

of our ancestors in other days, and in our time.

In the wake of the civil rights movement,

lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people began to organize

for the dignity and justice that all of us are due as human beings on this earth.

Those who profane your name,

claiming that they hate us in the name of God,

rose up to criminalize us, pathologize us, brutalize us, and erase us.

And You in your great mercy stood with us in the time of our troubles.

You fought alongside us,

vindicated us,

gave us the courage to stand together,

to open our eyes and the eyes of the world around us,

to see that the freedom and the right to love belongs to all of your creations.

You have given us the strength to witness and create wonders,

to be who we are and to love whom we love

not only in the safety of our homes

but outside in the light of the world,

to live as Jews in the embrace of community,

to sanctify our unions and celebrate ourselves before each other

and before You.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

May we never know shame again.