Today is October 16, 2018 -

Pride for Israel

Back when I was in public accounting, I had a client who said to me one day, “Rob, I want you to know, I’m gay.” I very matter-of-factly responded, “ok – thanks for sharing.”

“That’s it?” she asked. “Don’t you have any prejudices?”

“Well,” I replied, “I have very little tolerance for intolerant people.”

I’m going to break one of my rules this week and, in honor of pride month, I’m going to get political.

Three years ago, I attended an LGBTQA panel discussion at a Zionist conference. A student asked the campus representative, “Why is it harder for me to come out to my gay friends as a Zionist than to come out as gay to my Zionist friends?” The question upset me. Israel is probably the only place in the Middle East safe to be LGBTQA. How could the community not support Israel?

Last year in Chicago, a pride event was open to all, except for those who tried to enter the parade with a Star of David in the center of the rainbow flag. They were told to leave the parade because the parade was an anti-Zionist space.

I’m happy to report that these issues do not work in the reverse. Today is the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Last year’s parade boasted 200,000 marchers. Were there protestors last year? Of course, but let me note here that the Haredi protestors were not protesting homosexuality, but rather the public display of sexual preference–splitting hairs for some, but a fine line for others.

This past Sunday, our Federation sent a bus to join the Israel Day Parade in NYC. There were an estimated 40,000 Zionists marching. I’m proud (pun intended) to report that we lined up to march behind the very welcomed LGBTQ group.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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