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Wichita's Synagogues Celebrate Pride Together

(originally published in Ahavath Achim Congregation's Shofar)

Rabbi Michael Davis of Congregation Emanuel-El and I (I'm the cantor of Ahavath Achim Congregation) will be hosting a seder in celebration of Pride Month on Thursday night, June 27, 2024. There may be a lot that's confusing in that sentence so let me unpack it - kind of like the part of the haggadah that breaks down and explains the Exodus story in detail. (See what I did there?)


"Rabbi Davis and I" - Yes, our two congregations will join together to celebrate the civil rights that the LGBTQIA+ community has gained, and to look ahead to the time when society has achieved full equality.


"hosting a seder" - The evening will be based on a traditional haggadah. Just as the Passover haggadah encapsulates Jewish history and experience, so, too, our Pride seder will deepen our appreciation of and connection to the history and experience of our LGBTQIA+ sisters and brothers. 


"in celebration" - Just as non-Jews often join us at our Pesach seders to celebrate our freedom from oppression, so allies and those who want to learn more are welcome alongside our LGBTQIA+ community members to celebrate their continual unfolding of freedom, both legally and socially


"Pride Month" - The Stonewall Uprising, a series of events between police and LGBTQ+ protesters which began a shift in the national conversation on gay rights, justice, and opportunity, started on June 28, 1969. The annual commemorations of that event began the next year and were called Pride as Craig Schoonmaker shared in the Allusionist podcast 12: Pride, "...anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change." This also leads to deeper communal pride.


In case you’re not sure, yes, the Conservative/Masorti Movement supports LGBTQIA+ rights and welcomes members of the queer community:


 As early as 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which sets halakhic (legal) policy for the Conservative Movement, stated their desire to “work for full and equal civil rights for gays and lesbians in our national life.” In 2011 the Committee recommitted themselves to that resolution and added specific goals that include extending “its call for full and equal civil rights to bisexual and transgender persons,” supporting “the extension of civil rights and privileges . . . to same sex couples,” and calling on communities to “develop an action plan to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for GLBT individuals.”

 In 2016, the Rabbinical Assembly passed a historic resolution on affirming the rights of transgender and non-conforming people affirming "its commitment to the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and general society." Experiences may vary significantly, however, between synagogues. 


If you're a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or an ally, join us to celebrate this season of freedom for yourself and our queer friends and loved ones on Thursday, June 27. 


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