Israel, Religion, Sex & Gender

Jewish Pride

Last year, I covered the story of two friends who were strip searched and detained by the police because they wanted to go to the pride event while wearing kippot. This year, Adina Cohen at the Jerusalem Post used that story as a lede in her discussion of the religious presence at last week’s pride parade.
The article does a good job of discussing why straight, religious Jews might be at the parade, and throws around a few of my juicy quotes, though i wish it would have mentioned that I am going to Orthodox rabbinic school. However, it fails to really delve into the unique religious nature of hte parade or of the pride movement in general in Jerusalem.
It would have been nice to mention that the Jerusalem Open House that organized the parade was co-founded by Rabbi Steve Greenberg, and that their most regular event is a monthly kabballat shabbat and potluck dinner. Another interesting story line could have been Bat Kol, the national organization for religious lesbians. This group, was perhaps the most moving and motivated at the parade. They marched as a group, wearing long skirts, and modest white blouses, while singing traditional chassidic tunes.
For all of the protests and the threats that came out of the chareidi community, the parade was a success for the religious Jewish community. There were kippot everywhere, worn by representatives of all religious denominations. At one point, Rachel Joseph Marrah, Anne Lewis, and myself were marching together. The three of us come from very different backgrounds, but we have one connection – we will all be starting rabbinical school next year, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox respectively. There could be a pride parade anywhere, but perhaps a Jewish parade could only happen in Jerusalem.

7 thoughts on “Jewish Pride

  1. Seems to me the pride parade made everyone look good including the Heredim. They got their message of protest clearly across but, so far as I know, physically hurt no one. Looks like an all-around win for our side.a

  2. I decided to watch the protesters this year so I didn’t try to get into the parade route until it was nearly over. I hung out near the start of the parade until the parade walked out of view, I then passed thru the checkpoint with no problem to see what was happening at the end, and found there a handful of men in kippot heclking. I wore a baseball cap (I get sunburned otherwise) and have a very short beard, I don’t know if I look religious or not. One group of protesters asked if I would join them for mincha but another, with whom I had a short conversation, was convinced I was secular.

  3. Yasser Koach. I recently talked to someone who expected imminent disaster in Eretz Israel due to the parade. After all, didn’t it happen in Sodom? I couldn’t hold my tongue, lectured her a bit how Hazal is very clear that Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed due to hostility to strangers and such extreme violence that righteous people could no longer have any influence.

  4. Josh, are you kidding? I was blown away by the lack of a religious presence at this year’s Jerusalem Pride. I don’t remember, was last year the first one you’d ever been to? If not, to what were you comparing it? It was only my fourth (there have been six) Jerusalem Pride, but it had far and away the least obviously religious marchers than the other ones I have participated in here.
    I discussed this at length with some of my friends, most of whom have only attended one or two others themselves, and we all had different theories as to why this was. Since none of my group was hassled while trying to enter this time, but some of our friends who had marched in previous years chose to sit this one out, we guessed that all the posters, riots, articles, and overall drama generated this year was just serving to further divide the populace and caused a lot of people to not join this time around.
    And don’t even get me started about the ridiculous amount of street closings that preceded this year’s march. It’s no wonder the average Yerushalmi resents the march these days.

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