This month, we affirm our Jewish values of justice and righteousness as we celebrate Gay Pride month. Congregation Rodeph Shalom and Congregation Beth Ahavah invite you to join us for education and advocacy! This Wednesday, June 5 at 7:00 pm, Ted Martin, the executive director of Equality Pennsylvania will speak at RS on: “Love and Let Love: The State of LGBT Civil Rights in Pennsylvania.” And Friday, June 7 at our 6:00 pm service we will celebrate Gay Pride as well as Shabbat.
Why does Congregation Rodeph Shalom share with Congregation Beth Ahavah (whose mission it is to welcome LGBT Jews and who resides at Rodeph Shalom) such passion for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights? Rabbi Kuhn laid out the source of advocacy in a Bulletin article last year, (March 1, 2012 Bulletin) when he called for Marriage Equality (just weeks before President Obama did!).
In his article, Rabbi Kuhn reminded us that the Reform Movement has been an advocate for LGBT rights for decades. In 1965, the Women of Reform Judaism passed a resolution calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. In 1977, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference for American Rabbis passed resolutions calling for human rights. Since then, the Reform Movement has called for inclusion in our congregations and in the rabbinate and cantorate and elimination of discrimination within the U.S. Armed Forces and in the workplace.
Rabbi Kuhn also recalled our prophetic tradition and placed the struggle for LGBT rights in the context of the civil rights movements of the past, such as abolitionism and equal rights for African Americans.
Rabbi Kuhn’s article was followed by Rodeph Shalom Board of Trustees resolution, and together our clergy, Board and congregations have served as a foundation for the justice work for the the civil rights issue of our day.