As Pride Month unfolds, I wanted to reflect on the significance of this celebration within the context of the Jewish community. This is a time to celebrate and uplift every individual in the LGBTQ+ community, embracing the diverse identities and experiences that contribute to our rich tapestry of Jewish life.
As a Federation, we strive to include all members of our community at all times of the year and in all celebrations. Our recent strategic plan highlighted the importance of inclusivity and offering engagement opportunities to those underserved by our Jewish community institutions. Pride Shabbat represents a singular moment to commemorate, embrace, and uphold each other as a Jewish community.
We celebrate the courage and resilience of individuals who have overcome challenges to live their truth, affirming their identities as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and beyond. By acknowledging and accepting these experiences, we strengthen our commitment to inclusivity, compassion, and justice within our community.
Supporting all members of the Jewish community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is not only an act of love but also an essential expression of our Jewish values. Our tradition teaches us that every individual is deserving of dignity, respect, and acceptance. By fostering an environment that honours and uplifts all voices, we create a sense of belonging where everyone can flourish.
It is crucial to acknowledge that LGBTQ2S+ issues intersect with Jewish identity in unique ways. Many queer Jews face the challenge of reconciling their sexual orientation or gender identity with their religious upbringing. Some have encountered rejection within their own families or religious communities. Supporting LGBTQ2S+ individuals can help heal the wounds of exclusion and bolster our community.
Standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ2S+ members of our community goes beyond symbolism. It involves actively advocating for their rights, ensuring they have equal access to opportunities, and fighting against discrimination in all its forms. Canadian Israel and Jewish advocacy have worked for LGBTQ2S+ rights by demanding an end to discriminatory blood ban policies, urging the Government of Canada and Canadian Blood Services to take immediate steps to adopt screening standards consistent with both science and the growing international consensus.
During Pride Month, let us celebrate the achievements and contributions of LGBTQ2S+ Jews, both past and present. Let's talk and learn to better understand the issues faced by those in our community. Together, we can create spaces where LGBTQ2S+ Jews feel seen, heard, and valued.
Next week on Friday, June 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at Wilfrid Laurier Park, we will observe with a Pride Shabbat, an event that is open to all members of our community. It will be picnic-style, with a free Kabbalat Shabbat service, and an optional kosher meal, you can register until June 22.
I hope you will join us.