The Power & Possibility of LGBTQ+ Jewish Pride at Riverdale Y

Riverdale Y is a Jewish community center, of course, but in an increasingly fractured world, it is for me a vision of what the world could be. 

We remain grounded in our Jewish identity, yet many of our members and program participants are not Jewish. We are multi-racial, multi-religious, and inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. Even amongst our Jewish community members, we have a diverse range of identities, experiences, and practices. Some are secular, some are more religiously observant; just about every Jewish movement is represented and there are some who blend traditions from across movements. 

At the heart of Riverdale Y’s community is a deep respect for one another, a dedication to staying committed to community even across differences, and a belief that we are responsible for taking care of each other.

That is especially present in our wildly successful theater program. 

On my first day at Riverdale Y, while in between visiting each department, our CEO told me a story that sticks with me to this day:

Riverdale Y’s theater program, like many theater programs across the country, is often one of the first safe spaces for LGBTQ+ young people to share their identities. Thanks to our talented and compassionate staff, they are able to be seen and affirmed. Most importantly, they are able to see a world where they not only belong but are celebrated. They gain the courage to talk with their families. For Jewish LGBTQ young people, the Riverdale Y theater program helps them to see that they do not have to choose between their queerness and their Jewishness.

As a queer Jew, I feel a deep synergy between these two identities. They are both identities that, at times, I have been attacked and degraded for, but nonetheless that I feel a great pride in. I am especially proud that being an LGBTQ+ Jew need not look one way. The LGBTQ community and the Jewish community are both incredibly diverse and in our diversity is our power. We are stronger together and in Riverdale, we’re stronger than ever.

LGBTQ+ Pride Month kicks off this Saturday and I invite you to join us for Pride Shabbat next Friday, June 7 or for our Annual Broadway Gala supporting the incredible work of our youth theater program on Sunday, June 9.

Happy Pride,

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