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.
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.
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 AND 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.
READINGS AND RESOURCES
Taste the Rainbow: 10 Rainbow Recipes including Challah! by OneTable