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PLOT Builds Bridges in Atlanta

By Atlanta Jewish Community

Last week, we observed Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday for the third year. This holiday commemorates the day that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally received news of the Emancipation Proclamation—two years after it was issued. This holiday is a symbol of the transition from bondage to freedom, a theme that runs through much of Jewish tradition. Federation is proud to partner with organizations like Political Leaders of Tomorrow for Blacks and Jews (PLOT), which seek to uplift the voices of Jews of color and build bridges between the Black and Jewish communities in our city.

PLOT is funded by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. This April, PLOT hosted 32 Black and Jewish college students in a two-day in-person program with the theme, “Forging Alliances between Blacks and Jews to Combat Hate.” The powerful Leadership Forum made space for frank conversations, education from experts, and empathy.

“I have not been able to stop talking to my friends about all the amazing speakers we heard and the cool people I met from around the state. I will always remember the     kindness and genuine friendship that I saw between David Hoffman and Reverend Woodall even as they discussed issues that they hold dear yet disagree with each other about. The image of them smiling and shaking hands stays in my mind. I truly learned so much about cooperation when we disagree, but also that Black Americans and Jewish Americans have so much in common.”

-Participant in PLOT’s Leadership Forum

Dr. John Eaves, Founder & National Director of PLOT, says, “The Black-Jewish alliance that was so potently nurtured by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights era must be restored to address the rise of antisemitism on college campuses across the United States today. It has been refreshing and inspiring to see Black and Jewish college students from diametrical perspectives evolve from seeing the other as a stranger to understanding the common humanity that Blacks and Jews possess.”

Federation is proud to support the work of PLOT and other organizations that do this essential, intersectional work.

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Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival

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Hello Kosher BBQ Aficionados! 

Please join the Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival for its 10 year anniversary Festival at Brook Run Park on Sunday October 23rd, 2022. This Festival will be even bigger and better than 2021’s where over 4000 friends joined us for an amazing day of BBQ and activities. Learn more below and order your tasting tickets ahead of time!

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Atlanta Pride Shabbat

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Pride Shabbat will take place on October 7th and start at 6:30 PM at the Dock at Piedmont Park.

The Atlanta Pride Parade will take place on October 9th at 12 PM – we want everyone to know that Atlanta’s Jewish community shows UP for Pride! If you’d like to participate, fill out this form.

For a guide and for resources relating to Pride, you can find that below.

ATLANTA PRIDE SHABBAT RESOURCES

Please join the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta in welcoming Atlanta’s Pride which falls in the month of October. In our commitment to our desire to be radically welcoming and deepening our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in our Jewish Community, we encourage all communities to consider choosing a Shabbat to honor LGBTQ+ pride. We have assembled a wide array of resources to support you. Since many communities observe Pride in June, you may need to adapt a few of them to reflect that Atlanta celebrates Pride in October, close to National Coming Out Day.

If you are a community that is hosting an event to acknowledge Pride for the first time, that’s great. Here are some tips to consider.

Nothing About Us Without Us

This is a helpful rule of thumb whenever a community is wanting to honor a particular group or identity. In this case, assemble a planning group that includes LGBTQ+ people, known allies and interested family members. You don’t have to plan alone and this way you can get a sense of what people want and need. This could be the start of an affinity group, standing committee or a havurah (a Jewish alliance group that meets regularly for programs). 

Maybe you’re a community that already has an affinity group. Try to reach out to other members, interested guests, or speakers to gauge their interest and hopes.

Honor and Engage

Make sure that the participation goes beyond the rabbi or just one person.  This is a great opportunity to involve lay leadership. Knowing the rabbi understands the importance of Pride can be very powerful, but seeing that the membership does is even more so. 

KISS: Keep It Simple & Special 

No need to make it complicated. It is helpful to start with a clear purpose. Think about why it makes sense for your specific community to acknowledge Pride. From there, it can be helpful to pick out specific rituals, prayers, and/or offer a d’var Torah that acknowledges Pride or its specific aspect.

Think through what would make your purpose special. Consider if this is an opportunity to do some communal teaching on inclusion with some new practice, like name tags using pronouns or a new ritual. 

You do not need to do everything, but if you are able to take a theme, or an opportunity for new communal learning and pull it through the evening, it will have an impact.

Fun & Fabulous

Building on the special nature of Shabbat, remember even our tradition emphasizes oneg Shabbat. Oneg means delight! So have fun, get decorations, have special food, or make opportunities for people to socialize and connect. 

Let your creativity flag fly. Have designated hosts dressed with a flair. Take this moment to bring some joy in celebrating self-expression and authenticity.

Pride Can Be For Everyone

Ensure that people feel welcome and everyone is celebrated. When planning, think about the points of view and experiences from different perspectives. Are there specific ways this service or program can be more intentional in welcoming LGBTQ+ people? At the same time, there are some universal values and connections that all people can appreciate.  It does not need to be either/or, but rather create an opportunity that does both.

Rituals

Queer Shabbat Guide: One Table’s Ritual Resource

Pride Shabbat Guide One Table & JQI offer a handy guide for creating a Pride Shabbat

The Rainbow Candles- A Ritual from the Sha’ar Zahav Pride Seder 

Liturgy

A Blessing for Pride Month Ritualwell offers a beautiful blessing for Pride Month

Pride Shabbat Blessing from an Ally Ritualwell offers a beautiful reflection from an ally on the importance of Pride Shabbat

Blessing for Pride  Another Ritualwell blessing for Pride

Twilight People From the Sha’ar Zahav prayerbook, a prayer for the evening

Prayer for the End of Hiding A prayer from Congregation Bet Haverim’s Shabbat liturgy that offers hope for a time where Jewish LGBTQ+ people can claim their full identity 

CHOOSING BLESSING A blessing from Congregation Bet Haverim’s Pride Seder that blesses everyone’s unique gifts

Permission to Shine Affirmation An affirmation from Ritualwell that acknowledges that we all have gifts to share with the world

Selected Pride Shabbat Prayers The Religious Action Committee offers a wide array of prayers to choose from for Pride Shabbat

Where Pride Dwells A Jewish anthology of prayers for Pride by the Union of Reform Judaism

Siddur Sha’ar Zahav Congregation Sha’ar Zahav’s prayer book contains a myriad of Shabbat offerings that are fitting for Pride

Jewcy’s Queer Liturgy Jewcy offers this reflection on liturgy by and for LGBT people

 

Sermons and D’vrei Torah:

These fo D’vrei Torah relate to the Torah portions and Shabbat observances that fall in October and offer an LGBT perspective.

Sukkot Themed: q-ushpizin offered by Keshet and Torah Queeries

B’raishit: Affirming the Sanctity of Same Sex Love offered by Keshet and Torah Queeries

Holiness of Twilight offered by TransTorah

Noach: The Language of Blessings offered by Keshet and Torah Queeries

Apres le Deluge offered by Keshet and Torah Queeries

Pride Themed: Be Who You Are  offered by Ritualwell

D’vrei Torah Resources: 

TransTorah by TransTorah: a collection of sermons, liturgy, articles, and educational materials by and for trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary Jews: 

SVARA’s Hot off the Shtender: Torah by and about the queer Jewish experience: Hot Off the Shtender

Torah Queeries a commentary on every Torah portion

Jewish Textual Resources: These are incredible resources from Keshet

Inclusion

Creating Welcome Signs by OneTable

Trans Inclusion Resource by the Union of Reform Judaism

A Quick Guide to Pronouns by the Union of Reform Judaism

Hillel Guide to LGBTQ Resource  by Hillel International

Made in God’s Image: Gender Diversity and Our Communal Role  by the Union of Reform Judaism

Coming Home to Judaism and to Self by the Human Rights Campaign

Gender Identity and Sexuality Resources by SOJOURN

Pronoun Guide by SOJOURN

The LGBTQ+ Guide to Jewish Atlanta (2022 edition with new link coming soon) by SOJOURN

Program Ideas

Taste the Rainbow: 10 Rainbow Recipes including Challah! by OneTable

 

FAQs:

Why is Atlanta Pride in October?

Atlanta Pride is held in iconic Piedmont Park and used to fall on the last Sunday of June as observance of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Due to a drought, the number of large festivals and damage to the park, all festivals were curtailed in 2008. 

With a lottery in place, Atlanta Pride was offered to return to Piedmont Park in the month of October. Taking place on the Sunday closest to National Coming Out Day, our Pride observance remains in October.

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