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A Few Words from Rabbi Craig Marantz

Cliché as it might be, life is truly a roller coaster. Just take this weekend for example.

At its peak, we felt triumphant following our LGBTQ Pride service Friday night. We gathered together, bearing witness to our dual blessings of uniqueness and diversity. The service readings flowed with inspiration and wisdom, like this one:

"But You, Creator of us all, stood firm, reminding us what happened on the sixth day of creation: va'yivra Elohim et-haAdam b'tzalmo, b'tzelem Elohim bara oto, zakhar u'nikevah bara otam "And God created the Human in God's image, in the image of God was it created, male and female God created them" [Genesis 1:27], until many came to understand that You do not create in vain, do not create without intent; until many of us came to understand that we too are part of Your design, loved equally by You. (Rabbi Lisa Edwards)"

Created b'tzelem Elohim, in God's image, meaning we possess equal and intrinsic worth in God's eyes. As such, we must ensure that we do whatever possible to treat each other with חסד chesed (loving-grace) and כבוד kavod (respect), no matter what unique and diverse reality marks our lives.

But then the weekend plunged downhill when our friend Laurie Grauer of A Wider Bridge, ( and other LGBTQ Jewish marchers in the Chicago Dyke March ( were not allowed to participate because they wanted to carry a Jewish Pride flag with a magen David emblazoned on it. See Laurie's op-ed in Ha'aretz HERE.

According to a Dyke March Collective spokesperson, the rainbow flag with the Star of David in the middle "made people feel unsafe," and the March was "pro-Palestinian" and "anti-Zionist." How disturbing...and confusing. After all, organizers advertise the March as an "anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience."

Now I must admit how disappointed--no, how angry--I am that Israel, for political reasons, has recently abandoned building an egalitarian prayer space at Robinson's Arch (near the Kotel)--yet another gratuitous blow to progressive Judaism in the Jewish homeland. And, with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian strife, while more attention must be given by all to the conflict's nuanced and broad causes and culpabilities, Israel is not beyond reproach. (Nor are the Palestinians.) And yet, Laurie and her fellow Marchers were not carrying an Israeli flag. They were carrying a Jewish Pride flag--a big difference. Thus, if the goal of Dyke March Collective is to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and freedom of expression, they missed the mark here with our friends. The Collective ignored the equality and intrinsic worth of some of their fellow marchers, and that's unacceptable.

If you'd like to take action and shift this negative momentum, click HERE to visit the online petition.

Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good!

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