The Temple to Celebrate Equality Shabbat June 13

The Temple will commemorate national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month by hosting a special Equality Shabbat, Saturday June 13, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

This inaugural Equality Shabbat was inspired by Congregation Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem, which has celebrated LGBT Pride since 2007. Equality Shabbat at The Temple represents the first-ever Jewish community celebration of LGBT Pride in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Equality Shabbat will include Torah study (text study) on LGBT issues in Fishman Library at 9; Shabbat Morning services honoring the LGBT Jewish community in the Waller Chapel at 10:30; a kiddush luncheon with a panel of experts on LGBT issues in the Heideman Auditorium at noon; and two workshops, Transgender 101 in the Fishman Library and Marriage Equality in the Waller Chapel at 1.

The Temple’s rabbis will participate in and lead in Equality Shabbat. Community leaders featured on panels and workshops include Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign; Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky, board member of the Society for Classical Reform Judaism; Stacie Steinbock, M.Ed., director of the LGBT Center on the Health Sciences Center Campus for UofL; Rev. Bojangles Blanchard, plaintiff in Supreme Court case Love vs. Beshear; Mahri Bahati, MPH, HIV/AIDS advocate; Cynthia Conley, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Spal-ding University’s School of Social Work; and Henry Brousseau, Temple member and intern at the Fairness Campaign.

Kentucky’s oldest and largest Jewish congregation and a founding member of the Reform Movement, The Temple has always promoted the two central ideals in Jewish teachings “Love thy neighbor” and “all people are created in God’s image,” explained Rabbi David Ariel-Joel. 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 LGBT 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, he continued. The Temple rabbis hope that Equality Shabbat will help to promote acceptance for and celebration of LGBT individuals in Louisville and throughout the region.

All events are free and open to the public. RSVP for lunch. For more information about or reservations for this this special Equality Shabbat, please contact Becky King at The Temple 502-423-1818 or

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