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This Shabbat we will be joining together across our SWESRS generations for an uplifting Kol HaMishpachot service. We will also be marking Pride Shabbat - an opportunity to celebrate the important place of LGBTQ+ people across the Jewish community. We are delighted to be welcoming Dalia Fleming, Executive Director of Keshet UK, who will speak to us in the service, sharing her personal story.

Last night I joined the JW3/Keshet UK event ‘LGBTQ+ Stories for Pride’, where seven LGBTQ+ Jews from Keshet’s recent storytelling workshop shared their narratives for the first time publically. It was an honour and a privilege to hear these very personal stories. Many of them were uplifting – diverse stories of journeys towards personal growth, self-acceptance and healing. All of them were immensely moving. Sadly, many of them were painful too, demonstrating the profound cost to mental health and well-being paid by people from the earliest ages who feel the need to hide who they are for fear of rejection or worse from those they love most.

Hopefully, Shabbat morning will give us the opportunity to raise our awareness around some of the issues, learn what it means to be an Ally of the LGBTQ+ community, celebrate our own LGBTQ+ members, and start the conversation on the steps we can take individually and as a community to become a safer, more welcoming space for LGBTQ+ people.

Shabbat Shalom, Stay Safe and Be Well,

Rabbi Lisa