Celebrating Pride Shabbat

Posted on June 10, 2022 by Alexander Munroe

This month we celebrate Pride. But what does celebrating pride mean? For the LGBTQ+ community, Pride means being able to be yourself and be safe while being who God made you.

This week’s Torah portion contains the following statement: “When a man or a woman commits any wrong toward a fellow human being, thus breaking faith with God, and that person realizes their guilt, they shall confess the wrong that they have done. They shall make restitution in the principal amount and add one-fifth to it, giving it to the one who was wronged.”

It is wrong to deny people the right to be who and what they are. It is wrong to deny LGBTQ+ people the freedom to be themselves and to love whom they love. But as this verse from our parashah teaches us, it is more than just distasteful. It is more than a violation of civil rights. It is an affront to God. We break faith with God when we mistreat any of God’s children, whether on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation.

The LGBTQ+ community has a lot to be proud of, but, sadly, so much more of which we are fearful. Many states have passed “Don’t say gay bills,” as well as many other bills aimed at Trans rights — the so-called “Bathroom Bills.”

So how can we make a difference? There are many things that we can do as individuals and as a community:

Be outwardly accepting and inviting. At one of the first services I attended here at Temple Beth-El, I remember seeing a slide with a rainbow Star of David and hearing Rabbi Gluck say that all are welcome here.

Be accepting of who people are. We are all made in God’s image, even if it takes some work for some of us to become the self we imagine.

Finally, be a voice against hate. Don’t let people use derogatory phrases or spread false rumors about any person or group. We all need to love our fellow human beings and help them on their path.

As we celebrate Pride, I pray that all people will be proud to be who and what they are and that all will be free to live in peace.

Shabbat shalom!

Alex Munroe