מֶה עָשִׂיתָ;קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ, צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן-הָאֲדָמָה
The murder of a 16-year old girl at Jerusalem Pride reminds us of the dangers of homophobia and transphobia. Several rabbis have approached Keshet UK saying that they had ‘no words’ to describe these atrocities. This is simply not good enough. The communal silence shrouding the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews is stifling. Silence is oppressive and damaging, causing untold anguish, distress. It must be, and can be broken, because through our lack of words we fail those who need us most.
We all must look at ourselves, and ask whether we can do more to create an atmosphere where diversity is welcome, but hatred not. We need to be careful in our speech, using language to hurt. We must vocally reject the idea that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not fully part of our community. We must never be silent and complicit when people dismiss Jewish souls as outsiders, but instead must raise our voices and hold on tight to every member of our community.
Where we have not before had words, we now must find them. We must not waste a single opportunity to talk. Whether we are a rabbi, a communal leader, the family of a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, or simply someone who cares – we must not let silence fall on this moment. Silence breeds fear and mistrust, and we must shatter it with kind words of respect and love. In our schools, and our shuls and around our Shabbat tables we must open our hearts to those who so often have felt rejected by our community.
Keshet UK is committed to working within the Jewish community to achieve the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We invite Jewish communities to come and meet with us, speak with us, and together we will find the words that are so needed at this dark time.
Alma Reisel, Benjamin Ellis and Dave Shaw
Directors, Keshet UK