All welcome at Temple Israel’s Pride Shabbat

  • CommunityTempleIsraelPride
Dr Anastacia Tomson, guest speaker at Temple Israel’s annual Pride Shabbat this year, called for the Jewish community to build “safe spaces” that are sacred to all Jews whatever their orientation and whoever they choose to love.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Mar 05, 2020

Dr Tomson, who was raised as an Orthodox Jewish boy in Johannesburg, referred to the Torah portion, Terumah, which describes the gifts brought by the Israelites to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). She spoke about her struggle to find a community she could call home.

Temple Israel holds a Pride Shabbat every year to mark the Cape Town Pride March, held this year on 29 February, and to celebrate diversity in the Jewish community.

Together with the rabbis, a team of LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) Jews work to prepare a meaningful Shabbat service with thoughtful readings and kavanot (intentions) in between davening. This year, it included reading out the profiles of 10 LGBTQIA+ South Africans who died recently because of their sexual orientation. The shul was packed, with people standing at the back to join the service and hear Tomson, followed by a massive brocha.

The following morning, many of the congregation, queer and straight, joined Rabbi Greg Alexander from Temple Israel and Stuart Diamond from the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies on the Pride March, singing Shabbat songs as they walked.

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