As a community, we have come together to connect with the richness of Jewish prayer, mitzvot, minhag, Shabbat, holidays and community. Our minyan was not founded to reform, reconstruct or alter Jewish religion, service and customs. We are LGBTQ Jews and allies that are connecting to and continuing the religion and traditions of the Jewish people.
It goes without saying that we are therefore interested in the continuity of the Jewish People, which has never been a certainty. On Pesach, the Haggadah warns us that in every generation there are those who will rise up to kill us. After the Roman Empire destroyed the 2nd temple (Bait HaMikdash) in the year 70 A.D. and exiled the Jews, our next 1,800 years in exile were filled with ups and downs, golden eras that too often abruptly ended in suffering, oppression, persecution, and even genocide. The United Nations righted this historical wrong recognizing our right to a state in our ancient homeland. Zionism, which is the belief that Jewish People have a right like all other nations to self-determination and our own country, Israel, is a just and moral cause. Israel is our ancient homeland and is holy.
There is an unfortunate trend amongst some Jews to distance themselves from standing up for Israel or worse to advocate the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel. To be anti-Zionist is sacrilegious and immoral as it means advocating a return to the oppression and persecution of the Diaspora.
We are proud of the United States. We have been able to thrive here because it offers us a constitutional right to Freedom of Religion. But abandoning Israel would be foolish.
Anti-Semitism is increasing worldwide. We believe that anti-Semitism in all forms is unjustified, wrong and must be called out. We promise “Never Again!”; Never again will we stand idly by as anti-Semitism flourishes; Never again will we allow 6 million Jews to go like lambs to the slaughterhouse. We must be vocal in opposing anti-Semitism in the Upper West Side, in Riverdale, in the Hamptons, in Kansas City, in Paris, in Berlin and throughout the Arab world.
In recent weeks during Israel’s conflict with Hamas, a terrorist organization sworn to the annihilation of the Jews, many of our members were shocked about divisions within the LGBTQ Jewish community regarding Israel. Our minyan cares deeply about the survival of Israel. The minyan is firmly committed to the security and welfare of the State of Israel. Now more than ever, Israel needs our vocal support.
Many members are interested in promoting ways that LGBTQ Jews can stand up for Israel and against anti-Semitism. Therefore, as an outgrowth for what we stand for and for minyan group members and others to firmly stand with Israel, Fred Steiner, Jeff Rosenbleuth, and I have created the Facebook page of New York LGBTQ Jews for Israel. Please click on the link, “like” the page and join the discussion there.