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Reb Lisa's Message

5/31/23


June is Pride Month, which kicks off tomorrow! Communities throughout the United States (and beyond) observe Pride month with parades, festivals, celebrations, and gatherings of all kinds. Pride month also gives us the opportunity to remember and honor those who have died of hate crimes and HIV/AIDS. The first Pride marches were held on June 28th, 1970, on the one year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York. This was a major turning point for LGBTQ+ rights.


Pride month is a time of

Celebration. Education. Unification. Collaboration. Commemoration.


Pride month is also a time to rededicate ourselves to foundational Torah values–equity inclusion, respect, and love.


Torah tells us, 36 times, to not oppress the stranger, to welcome the stranger, and ultimately to love the stranger. Why? We too, were strangers, marginalized and oppressed under Pharaoh in Egypt. We know what it means to be on the outside. We are familiar with the experience of being bullied and beaten down, harassed, harmed, and hated. Our history of bondage gives us understanding and empathy.


Also central to Jewish values is the commandment V’ahavta L’reacha K’mocha, “Love your fellow as yourself” and the essential truth that B’tzelem Elohim, “We are all made in the Image of God.” Where there is inequality in the world, where there is harm and suffering, it is upon us to engage in Tikkun Olam, repair of the world.


The key takeaway here is that Pride month is an important time on the Jewish calendar! It is a time to re-connect with our Jewish values and commit to a relationship of solidarity and allyship with our LGTBQ family.


There are so many ways to be part of Pride. Remember, this is a month of celebration, education, unification, collaboration, and commemoration! Here’s a few ways to get involved:


On Saturday, June 24th (11am - 4pm), CBI will be participating in Stonewall’s Chico Pride Fair in downtown plaza. Come on by and visit our booth which will have meaningful ways to engage and celebrate. Thank you to Meadow Davis for chairing this event!


On Wednesday, June 28th at 7pm, I will represent CBI in the 4th Annual Interfaith Pride Service. Hosted by Faith Lutheran Church, the evening will feature stories, sermons, spoken word, and musical offerings by several Chico Area affirming faith communities. Everyone is welcome to attend in person or via live stream. Check the flyer in the eblast for all the details.


Check out CHICO PRIDE 2023 to find out the full line up of events.


Check out KESHET, an organization committed to creating full inclusion and equality of all Jews and their families in Jewish life.


As Rabbi Rachel Weiss reminds us, the heart of Pride is to be who you are! May we have the courage to shine our essence, our true colors. May we feel safe in our self expression. May we be loved and embraced for being exactly who we are meant to be. Happy Pride 2023!


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