In 2006, at age 23, I went to a gay bar for the first time.
It is now four days since the heinous attack in Orlando. In the world of cable news, an eternity has already passed. But for those of us entrusted with caring for students and congregants, the story is only now beginning to unfold—and the pain being expressed is simply searing. As a friend and colleague wrote to me yesterday, as a queer person, “I feel completely burned, charred, incinerated, like my life has been destroyed, like the world was not created for me.”
The last 72 hours are a study in contrast on what it means to be human. Jews across the world celebrated the festival a Shavuot, a time when we commemorate the gift of the Torah and the ethical teachings it contains. We count up to the holiday of Shavuot beginning with the second night of Passover and for 49 days afterward, linking our spiritual freedom to the responsibilities that liberation entails.
Yesterday, like many others in our community this month, I marched in a Pride Parade.
It’s Pride season, although I celebrate all year long! But recently there’s been a lot of talk about our gay culture and whether we might lose it by gaining our rights and disappearing into the swiftly moving mainstream.