The Temple Marks Equality Shabbat

The Temple will host its Second Annual Equality Shabbat, “Creating a Welcoming Community,” on Saturday, June 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and the community is invited.

Judaism teaches that the differences between humans are a divine act: God created us different and distinct from each other. Every one of us has our own face, opinions and orientation. Some of us have one sexual orientation, and some have another. We were all created in God’s image.

Together with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, we celebrate the sanctity of every human life and seek to realize the divine image inherent in us all. The Temple is leading religious discourse that seeks to welcome LGBTQ members as equals in society at large and in our own community. A genuine invitation to join our community requires recognition of the unique value and life stories of LGBTQ people and celebration of the contribution they make to our Temple.

Through such an invitation, our own community will become richer and more diverse, while members of the LGBTQ community are able to enjoy community life and the additional meaning Reform Judaism bring to all our members. In order to expand and celebrate our invitation to the LGBTQ community, we established a new tradition of the Equality Shabbat.

During the month of June, The Temple will mark Pride Shabbat through prayer, study, and experience. The Equality Shabbat can help us advance from the stage of accepting the LGBTQ community to the stage of actively inviting LGBTQ people to be full partners in our community.

Equality Shabbat is celebrated in June as part of a worldwide program of Pride events commemorating the beginnings of the LGBTQ liberation movement in June 1969. Since then, Pride Month includes parades, demonstrations – and prayers.

The schedule for Equality Shabbat 2016/5776, “Creating a Welcoming Community,” is 9 a.m., Torah study (text study); 10:30 a.m. Shabbat morning services; 12 p.m., free kiddush luncheon, panel and community forum on hospitality and inclusion.

Guests include representatives from the LGBTQ Center at University of Louisville, The Women’s Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Fairness Campaign.

The Temple has always promoted the two central ideals in Jewish teachings “Love thy neighbor” and “all people are created in God’s image.” Throughout The Temple’s 175 year history Rabbis and lay leaders have been active in civil rights and in advocating for fair treatment of all people including LGBTQ individuals.

The Temple was Louisville’s first Jewish congregation to hire an out rabbi. The Temple rabbis are active with the Fairness Campaign and have conducted same sex marriage rites since 1996 – including the first same sex marriage in the state of Israel. The Temple is a welcoming congregation and celebrates the contributions of all of its members.

The Temple rabbis hope that Equality Shabbat will help to promote acceptance for and celebration of LGBTQ individuals in Louisville and throughout the region.

All events are free and open to the public.

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