Or Chayim Statement on A Wider Bridge and Jerusalem Open House Event at Creating Change

Or Chayim is deeply disturbed and alarmed by the disruption this past weekend of the A Wider Bridge Israel reception with Jerusalem Open House at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Chicago, Illinois.

 
We unequivocally support Israel’s right to exist. We are committed to the Zionist belief that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination in their own national and historical homeland.

We are troubled by the videos and testimonials of LGBTQ protesters demonizing and calling for the annihilation of Israel. We condemn anti-Zionism and anti- Semitism in all its forms. As we have demonstrated over the last 2 years, we are committed to standing up for Israel in LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ spaces.

We have learned from Jewish history that the hatred of the Jewish people never fully goes away and we have vowed never again to remain silent. Israel has faced existential threats throughout its history and has the right to safety and security.

We condemn those who seek to silence, censor and shut down our voices. As Jews from Orthodox and traditional backgrounds, many of us have overcome tearful and painful journeys for the right to be seen and heard as LGBTQ in our families and communities. We promise to use that same determination to ensure our voices in support of Israel and the voices of our community partners, such as A Wider Bridge and Jerusalem Open House, will be seen and heard!

 

We praise the National LGBTQ Task Force, and its Executive Director, Rea Carey for condemning the anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements that occurred at Creating Change. We look forward to the improvements they are committed to implementing to ensure the safety of all future pro-Israel conference participants.

Oliver Rosenberg
Founder & President
Or Chayim

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Or Chayim, is an independent start-up Jewish community of Orthodox, traditional and unaffiliated LGBTQ Jews and allies and is founded by Yeshiva University alumnus Oliver Rosenberg. Or Chayim offers inclusive Shabbat & holiday community experiences for its members and all are welcome. Its three-part Friday night experience consists of: an Orthodox minyan, a gala kiddush hour and a sit-down Shabbat dinner. Or Chayim has quickly grown since its inception in 2014 to attracting over 400 visitors to its congregation and monthly Shabbat dinners. It has monthly attendance of 70 people. Or Chayim’s complete support of Israel position is included on its website and can be found here. For more information, please visit

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5775: A banner year at Or Chayim

We shared in a banner year at Or Chayim.

We had gatherings on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, 9 Shabbats, our first aufruf and a conversation on Iran. We learned about partners like OneTable and A Wider Bridge.

We are growing. Our average Friday night attendance for the year was above 70 people. We have sold out 3 of our last 4 dinners and are outgrowing our space.

In our Spring survey, nearly 85 respondents listed socializing with fellow gays at the kiddush hour as their highlight.

I want to thank every one of you that has attended or contributed to the feelings of community, friendship and belonging that so many of us feel at Or Chayim.

We are fortunate to have volunteers that work hard to make our events run smoothly and ensure we have a warm, haimish feel. My hope for 5776 is for us to work together to create a sustainable organization to build off our past successes.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and amazing new year.

Our first grant!

I’m excited to announce that my micro grant application for a free Rosh Hashanah kiddush, seder & tasting hour has been approved by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

From the application:

“For this Rosh Hashanah, the start of the new year, I want to create an event that resonates with who we are and where we are going. I would like to build on the shabbat kiddush style events that I have hosted, but replace the usual kugel and chulent with simanim-comprised dishes that each represent the sense of continuity and rejuvenation that I feel is developing amongst this community I’ve created of minyan attendees.

We will set up some long rectangular tables with platters consisting of 5 categories of simanim: (i) apples & honey, (ii) hot carrot tzimmes, (iii) stuffed cabbage (iv) gefilte fish and (v) pomegranate seeds. When I announce this event, I will ask for volunteers of small groups of people who would like to recite the prayer, say a few words about why they chose the blessing associated with one of these 5 simanim and share some of their hopes for the coming year. At the night of the event, we will start the kiddush hour by calling upon the 5 groups of “blessing volunteers” to each recite their respective prayer and share a few words on their hopes and why this blessing is meaningful to them.”

I’m looking forward to the new year!

Oliver