Jewish Resources for World AIDS Day

Today marks the 28th World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and mourning those we lost to the disease. It seems fitting that we mark this day in December, when the days are short, in honor of all those whose light was taken from this world too soon.

The Talmud teaches us that when we lose just one person, it is considered that the entire world has been destroyed. So, in the 35 years since AIDS was first observed in the United States, we have seen the world destroyed over a million times.  A million souls gone – which of them would have cured cancer, painted a masterpiece, or solved any of the world’s seemingly intractable problems?

Today, we mourn our losses, and we recommit ourselves to fighting AIDS, fighting stigma and discrimination against those infected and affected, and ultimately, to finding a cure.

Today, I repeat what I said last year, and the year before, and the year before that– all I want is a cure and my friends back.

Read: 

Remembering on World AIDS DayPaul Cohen, President of Sha’ar Zahav and friend of Keshet, reflects on his congregation’s activism during the AIDS epidemic. 

Telling My Story for World AIDS Day“Stand with your congregation, and recite Kaddish for those we have lost to the AIDS epidemic, those who have no one standing for them.” James Miller, Executive Director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh. 

Parashat Noach: Apres le Deluge: MoiMichael Sarid sees echoes of Noah’s behavior after the flood among Holocaust survivors – and those who lived through the AIDS crisis.

Tazria-Metzora: Torah for World AIDS DayGregg Drinkwater, former Colorado Regional Director of Keshet, meditates on the connection between tzara’at, a Biblical skin affliction often mistranslated as leprosy, and HIV/AIDS.

Watch: 

Larry Kramer: In Love & Anger honors Larry Kramer, a Jewish gay man and pioneering AIDS activist, who reminisces about his life fighting tirelessly for gay rights. 

United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP is a documentary about the birth and life of the AIDS activist movement featuring oral histories from its members, many of whom were Jewish. 

Ritual Reconstructed Films “World AIDS Day” captures an annual World AIDS Day memorialisation service at a synagogue in London.

Act:

Hold a World AIDS Day Shabbat with your synagogue like this one at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. 

Host a section of the AIDS Quilt with your Jewish community.

Discover More

Black Wedding: Marrying the Spanish Flu Away

This Jewish response to a devastating epidemic in the early 20th century drew on a mixture of Eastern European customs and inspired both fierce proponents and harsh critics.

Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Memorial Day

This annual day of remembrance of the victims is observed by Jewish communities worldwide.

Jewish Mourning FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Jewish traditions related to death and mourning,