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Temple Beth El of Boca Raton is celebrating Pride Month. We are hosting or participating in both in-person and virtual programs throughout June in support of the LGBTQ+( lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and others) community.
Rabbi Greg Weisman said, “Our Torah teaches us that each person is created in God’s image and challenges us to see the divinity in everyone. The LGBTQ community celebrates Pride Month and remembers when, in June 1969, LGBTQ folks in New York stood up for themselves and called out to the world to embrace their humanity. We join in that effort.”
Weisman added, “I am excited that our congregation will be offering opportunities for learning, to participate in community events, and to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQ members of our own community.”
“What excites me about Pride Month this year is that we will be able to celebrate it in community. Last year our celebrations were all virtual. This year, we will be gathering in the sanctuary in our synagogue, marching in Wilton Manors and greeting neighbors in Lake Worth Beach. This opportunity to make such a public statement of love and support for the LGBTQ community is wonderful.”
A virtual LGBTQ+ inclusion lunch and learn series with Weisman takes place from noon to 1 p.m every Tuesday in June. Topics include LGBTQ+ Dignity and Allyship, Text study on Diversity, Dignity, and Community, LGBTQ+ Rights, The History of the LGBTQ+ community in the Reform movement and Beth El Pride Circle Members. Sessions are free, and can be viewed on Zoom, tbeboca.shulcloud.com/live or on youtube.com/c/tbeboca.
The synagogue will have a booth at the Palm Beach Pride Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 5 at Bryant Park in Lake Worth Beach.
The synagogue will host a Pride Shabbat at 7:30 p.m. on June 18 at its Schaefer Family Campus in East Boca Raton. Masks are required for unvaccinated attendees only. People can also watch the service on Facebook Live, its website or Youtube channel.
Guest speaker for the service will be Matt Sprinzen. Matt is transgender and is the son of a long-time teacher at the synagogue’s early learning center and religious school. Sprinzen will share his story of transition, and said he’s excited to talk about it with the congregants.
“I’ve never really publicly spoken about my transition,” he said. “I’m pretty good at speaking to people in general. I’ve always wanted to stand up and talk to people about it.”
The synagogue will participate in the Stonewall Pride Street Festival and Parade on June 19 in Wilton Manors. All walkers must arrive by 6 p.m. Registration is required.
The synagogue will also be part of a nationwide “Spread Love” project. This yarn bombing installation was conceptualized by street artist London Kaye. Volunteers helped with the construction and installation of handmade pieces that wrapped around trees. No experience necessary. Registration and instruction information are available at tbeboca.shulcloud.com/event/pride-yarn.
There is extra meaning this year, in light of the recent rise of anti-Semitism. Also in light of the crisis that has taken place in Israel and Gaza.
“Jews who are allies and supportive of the LGBTQ community are also aware that Israel is unique among her neighbors in welcoming and treating LGBTQ Israelis with respect,” Weisman said. “When I think about why I support Israel, their support of the LGBTQ community is an important piece of that.”