I am proud to have been associated with the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, the oldest Jewish LGBT organisation in the world, since 1987. A student Rabbi at that time, during the past 23 years since I was ordained, I have been delighted to be part of a growing band of rainbow rabbis, who have offered their services to the group and helped to transform the experience of LGBT Jews in Britain.
I wrote this prayer for the JGLG’s 40th anniversary service on Friday 29 June 2012, which I co-led with Rabbi Mark Solomon and Rabbi Irit Shillor . May it serve to remind all of us of the journey of LGBT Jews over the past 40 years ‘from persecution and bigotry to liberation and inclusion.’
Tzur Yisrael, Rock of Israel, as we recall the forty-year odyssey of the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, we give thanks for strength, courage, determination and endurance – and for all that has enabled us to survive the long and sometimes arduous journey from persecution and bigotry to liberation and inclusion.
M’kor Ha-B’rachah, Fountain of Blessing, as we celebrate this momentous milestone, we feel deep gratitude for the blessings of mutual support and solidarity, friendship and companionship that have enabled us to find a home in the Jewish community, so that each one of us may be affirmed in our Jewishness, our sexuality and our gender and feel complete as human beings made in Your image.
Eyn Chayyim , Source of Life, as we gather together to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Jewish LGBT organisation in the world, we rejoice in the diversity encompassed by all our lives and thank You, above all, for teaching us to embrace ourselves and one another.
Baruch Attah, Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha-olam, shehecheyyanu, v’kiy’manu v’higi’anu laz’man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Eternal One, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and enabled us to reach this time.
And let us say: Amen.
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah
Erev Shabbat, 29th June 2012 – 10th Tammuz 5772