Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
In my mind, Thanksgiving has a deeper connection with Judaism than with turkey or cranberry sauce.
Since eighth grade, I haven’t been home for a Thanksgiving dinner.
region of United Synagogue Youth (USY), which encompasses the chunk of the Midwest that’s west of Chicago, we hold our largest convention of the year over Thanksgiving weekend.
The most meaningful part of our
, “convention” in Hebrew, is the way that hotels in places like Minneapolis, St. Louis, Omaha, or Kansas City become oases of Jewish community for a weekend. Over the long weekend of Thanksgiving, a hotel ballroom became a makeshift synagogue, kosher food cafeteria, and center of Jewish life.
What made this experience so special, though, was the fact that it began with Thanksgiving dinner, during which we gathered around tables with friends old and new, and kindled a close community. During my last
, as we went around the table sharing what we were thankful for, I realized the important role that the Emtza region Jewish community played in my high school years.
This year, I’m thankful for the college I attend, Tufts University. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live in Boston, take classes that I enjoy, and make as many Belgian waffles as I want in the dining hall.
Beyond that, though, I’m thankful that I’ve found a new Jewish community and, more specifically, a Jewish community that celebrates queer identities.
This past weekend our Hillel held a Pride Shabbat, featuring two women who spoke about their experiences as queer individuals in their Jewish communities, services tailored to fit the pride theme with special readings from the Siddur Sha’ar Zahav, and a shabbat dinner featuring blurbs on the tables about queerness and Judaism and rainbow decorations on the walls. The shabbat made me appreciate the Jewish community at this school even more, because it truly welcomes and celebrates everyone in our Hillel community, and the student body of the school at large.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my new Jewish community of peers. Though I’ll miss the experience of forging a Jewish community with my friends, I am so grateful for the Jewish community fostered by the Hillel here at Tufts and the fact that it celebrates the intersection of Judaism and pride.
Ari also created community with over 40 of his LGBTQ & Ally Teen peers at the Keshet/Hazon LGBTQ & Ally Teen Shabbaton last year. This #GivingTuesday Keshet will be raising funds to support travel costs for one teen attendant at the Shabbaton. Learn more about the Keshet/Hazon LGBTQ & Ally Teen Shabbaton here.
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Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.