This evening, David Vamos has created a beautiful “Taste of Shabbat Service” for our Community Pride Shabbat Dinner that I am very much looking forward to attending. The history of Pride has had a serpentine journey in the United States and in Canada and around the world. It was originally a stage for protest and advocacy for people seeking simple basic human rights. Over time, as barriers have been overcome, it has become a place for joyful gatherings that span (almost) the entire community. And every year, Pride Month embeds within it deeper teachings about the everchanging nuances within the LGBTQ2+ community that brings us all closer together. At the best moments within our community, Pride makes us proud.


But there are always dark shadows — politicians here and around the world who somehow double-book other events on that day, or religious groups (including elements of our own) who look only to the moment of our birth to establish our gender/identity and exclude those who do not fit. Or even worse are the loud and unfiltered voices who speak words of hate, in person and online, or push to impose their narrower views on their whole community.


Astonishingly, there are now 520 pieces of legislation circulating through various state legislatures south of our border just on “trans” alone, and demands in both of our countries for book bans. These acts of othering and devalidating remind us that the purpose of Pride isn’t just about celebration, it continues to be about assertion and ownership of who we are as a community and what we stand for. And now, with frustration but also with purpose, we learn that we can never stop asserting.


For those of us on this side of Pride, we get cast with apparently negative words like “woke” or “liberal” or “not following God’s word.” Actually, our creation story tells us that we are ALL created in God’s image. And as for being “woke” – aware and awake – or “liberal?” All I can say about those labels is “Yes, I am. And thank you for noticing.” I will choose love over hate every minute and every day of the year.


Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Allan