I am thankful that we took another step forward this past Shabbat in our practice of inclusivity and audacious hospitality. I am especially grateful to Reuben Lewy for helping me mine the sacred content for our PRIDE/Juneteenth service and for assembling the international cast of contributors, including Andre Liberman who preached beautifully - all the way from Brazil! Wow! I also feel good about our communal embrace of Juneteenth and its significance to anti-racism and our essential and increasing commitment to the effort. We will continue to honor Juneteeth as a prayerful practice, and we will give regular attention and dedication to anti-racist efforts. By the way, if you have yet to attend our ECRA Circle of Solidarity & Mourning, try it out. It meets M-F for sure, and sometimes on the weekend, at 9am CT for about 40 minutes plus or minus. Our collective effort is a meaningful and thought-provoking opportunity to pray, contemplate, share, debate, and act. Together, as a broad community of faith, we combat racism and champion anti-racism. We look forward to welcoming to our virtual village in the pursuit of justice.
In addition to President Leah Jones’ all-star tech captaining, I am also grateful to Cassandra Tenonbaum, who brought the service into a most wonderful form so you could behold it out there in digital space. In fact, our virtual village has taken inspiring form because of Cassandra’s tech savvy and overall creativity. She has also been a force in teaching us and illuminating us with her sharp and expansive intellect. Cassandra has done well by Cantor Friedman and me, helping us stay timely, focused, and organized. While Cassandra’s official, yearlong working arrangement with Emanuel Congregation comes to its conclusion this month, we hope to find some new ways to connect with Cassandra and enjoy her thoughtful and imaginative presence. Thank you, Cassandra, for the many blessings you brought our Emanuel family and b’hatzlacha in all your endeavors henceforth.
In the spirit of pride and community, Jewish congregations and Chicago’s Keshet for LGBTQ Equality in Jewish Life are coming together to host a ZOOM virtual pride program on Saturday, June 27th. Beginning at 8:45 pm CT, participants may gather virtually for optional schmooze time and at 9:20 pm CT everyone will participate in a Havdalah service. Following the service, a pride-themed program of engaging talks, music and other performing arts will be presented. Keynote addresses will be presented by Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Rabbi, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and Rabbi D’ror Chankin-Gould of Anshe Emet. Prior to restrictions made necessary by COVID-19, the organizers, many of whom have been marching together for several years in Chicago’s Annual Pride Parade, had been looking forward to hosting a live service and celebration.
In the words of Rabbi Weiss, “Pride is both about celebrating joy and struggle. As Psalm 118 says “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” - we gather to fill ourselves with pride and commitment.
Please sign up to attend by registering at https://sholomchicago-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcvfuigrTwrE9Gl8AxjcWhezbZd-oHp65HT.
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good. Stay in the fight and struggle onward!
Rabbi Craig Marantz