Just last Saturday the Proud Boys marched through the Clintonville neighborhood to protest a Drag Queen story hour. Standing outside the church where it was supposed to be held, turned into a walk through the Clintonville streets, including on the blocks of many in our congregation who live there. For those who have been around Beth Tikvah for years, we know that our Congregation has its roots in Clintonville. Our first two congregational homes were there before moving to Worthington in the early 1980s. It is horrifying to see individuals in fatigues with long guns and their faces covered imposing their worldview on others. I cannot help but think that such a march is a modern-day version of the KKK marching, faces hidden, hoping to impose their worldview on others. Though the event they planned to protest had already been cancelled, they showed up anyway.
And just yesterday, The United States House passed legislation with bipartisan support to protect same-gender and interracial marriages. This legislation will require all states to recognize another state’s legal marriage. Though the Supreme Court Ruled in favor of same gender marriage in 2015, in recent months many in the LGBTQ community have feared that this decision might be overturned. Putting this into law, is not only a show of support and recognition for a marginalized community but reflects how far we have come and is a reminder of how much farther we need to go to ensure rights for the LGTBQ community.
Since the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs and with the added local threat imposed by the Proud Boys, it is important for everyone to come together to reflect a sense of allyship. In a world filled with hate, it is necessary to stand up and act against hate! In these moments, I think about the scores of individuals who are part of the LGBTQ community who fought for these rights and never saw an outward expression of equality. In a just over a week, we will sing the Hanukkah blessings in which we will ask God to make the miracles that happened for our ancestors happen for us as well.
In these moments I pray that the miracle of our handiwork be strengthened for future generations, and I share this prayer, written by David Yedid and appearing in Mishkan Ga’avah: Where Pride Dwells: A Celebration of LGBTQ Jewish Life and Jewish Ritual edited by Rabbi Denise Eger. A Blessing for My LGBTQ Ancestors by David Yedid
You, who fought to love. You, who prayed to the same God I do. Y
ou, who insisted on your dignity even when the world said you had none.
You, who died of AIDS while fighting for a cure, so that people like me might live.
You, who were shot in a massacre while on the dance floor. You, who could not come out and held your secret until your dying day.
You, who were insulted, shamed, beaten, and brutalized, yet kept walking.
You, who contributed your fierceness, your originality, your art, and your voice to this world.
I walk in your memory.
I walk this path, smoothed and chartered by your sacrifice toward justice, toward holiness, toward freedom.
Baruch atah Adonai magein avraham v’ezrat sarah.
Blessed are You, Adonai, Sarah’s Helper, Abraham’s Shield.
Rabbi Rick Kellner