From queer text study and institutional inclusion to profiles of queer clergy and youth voices, the Keshet blog features new ideas and reflections by and for LGBTQ Jews and their allies. The blog is produced by Keshet, a national grassroots organization with offices in Boston and the Bay Area that works for the full inclusion and equality of LGBTQ Jews in all areas of Jewish life.
[Below is the full text of the insert. You can also download a pdf version to bring to your seder table.]
Every year, Jews gather at seder tables around the world to remember, retell, and reconnect with the story of our collective redemption. Passover compels us to ask ourselves how we are moving out of Mitzrayim, the narrow straits of oppression and brokenness that still mar our world, and toward liberation in our lives today. As mothers, fathers, parents, and family members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Jews, we are inspired by our tradition’s story to strive for LGBTQ recognition, freedom, and acceptance.
Allies can have a powerful voice in that struggle, supporting LGBTQ people in their coming out process and helping others to understand the importance of justice, fairness, acceptance, and mutual respect for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The role of allies is critical to the work of creating a Jewish community that is inclusive, safe, and supports all Jewish children, teens, and adults to be fully themselves.
At Passover, it is the family’s responsibility to retell the story, to inspire each new generation to accept the task of living out our values, of remembering that we were once strangers, and therein find an obligation to those on the margins of our own societies. As gay and straight parents and family members of LGBTQ children, we invite you to join us in considering our role in assuring LGBTQ liberation for generations to come.
Who are the Four Allies? Which one are you?
1. The ally who asks what “LGBTQ” means: The first step to taking bold action and advocating on behalf of others is to approach with curiosity, humility, and openness. An ally is open to learning new things and challenging their own assumptions.
2. The ally who stands up for a friend: The lives of people we care about, our friends, family, and colleagues can be powerful catalysts for action.
3. The ally who speaks up about equality: When we speak out against injustice because it’s the right thing to do, regardless if someone we know and care about is affected, we act on behalf our core values.
4. The ally who comes out as an advocate to move equality forward: As allies, we are often insulated from the vulnerabilities that LGBTQ people face in the world. However coming out publicly as an ally can also mean taking a risk on behalf of the values and people we care about.
What are the Four Questions we could be asking ourselves? Consider these:
1. What other social movements for equality have you stood up for?
2. When have you been an ally or seen someone else be an ally?
3. What kind of ally would you like to be?
4. What are you risking by being an ally? What is on the line for you?
Pronounced: huh-GAH-duh or hah-gah-DAH, Origin: Hebrew, literally “telling” or “recounting.” A Haggadah is a book that is used to tell the story of the Exodus at the Passover seder. There are many versions available ranging from very traditional to nontraditional, and you can also make your own.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)