pride jewishJune is PRIDE month, honoring the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall night club, which moved into the streets. It was a clash between police and the LGBTQ community members who were attacked
and assaulted and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. We
have come a long way in the past 35 years. As is our tradition in many areas, we acknowledge from whence we have
come and those who engaged in the struggle and suffered during the past 35 years. Our PRIDE Shabbat Service this
week will honor people of all gender identities and presentations and the range of romantic, emotional, and sexual
attractions. We affirm and embrace everyone within our Jewish framework of understanding. Temple Israel has
embraced people of different gender identities and orientations for many years. Our Ruach Chavurah helped people
come together when there weren’t many other places where they were embraced so fully. I am honored to continue Temple Israel’s legacy in this area.

This week’s Torah portion, Naso, includes the priestly benediction, also called the Levitical Blessing, as the Levites were
instructed to bless the people with these words in the Torah. We use the blessing for a baby naming or brit milah, with
B-mitzvah students, welcoming new people to Judaism and at other significant moments. We can also use it at our
Shabbat dinner tables when blessing children or one other. The blessing in Numbers is in the masculine singular form,
the “cha” ending to the words in Hebrew. Today, I embrace using the words of the priestly benediction in
masculine, feminine, singular, and plural formulations depending upon who I am blessing. The English is unchanged:
May God bless you and keep you.
May God’s light shine upon you, and may God be gracious to you.
May you feel God’s Presence within you always and may you find peace.

We will be sharing many prayers, readings and blessings at Shabbat Services. Here is a a Blessing for PRIDE
Month: Birkat Hodesh Ga’avah, written by Rabbi Lily Solochek:

May it be Your will,
our God and God of our ancestors,
God of Ruth and Naomi, 
God of David and Jonathan, 
God of Joseph, 
God of all our queer ancestors whose names have been erased, 
grant that this Pride month bring us joy and celebration, 
and bestow upon us a long life:
a life of safety, 
a life of healing,
a life of employment and housing, 
a life of love and support, 
a life of blessing and sharing of gifts,
a life free of shame and reproach,
a life of friendship, partnership, and love in the ways we wish to give and receive it, 
a life with dreams of the future.
May the One who delivered our ancestors from oppression to freedom redeem us and all marginalized peoples.  
May the Holy One instill in us the wisdom to know our liberations are entwined together.  
May the One who creates liberation on high bring liberation to us, to all oppressed communities, and to the entire world, 
V’nomar, and we say, 
Shabbat Shalom