Celebrating 25 years since the first openly lesbian or gay Rabbis were ordained in the UK, a special Pride Shabbat programme – comprising Kiddush, a Friday night service, and Chavurah/Shabbat community party – will take place at West London Synagogue in Central London on Friday 27 June 2014 from 7pm.

The key collaborating organisations include Beit Klal Yisrael (BKY), the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group (JGLG) and West London Synagogue (WLS).

The ‘Kiddush with fizz’, and participatory Pride Shabbat service, will be led by LBGT Rabbis including WLS Rabbi David Mitchell, Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, Rabbi Anna Gerrard, Rabbi Indigo Jonah Raphael, Rabbi Mark Solomon, and many more, including leading light of the Jewish LGBT community, broadcaster and author, Rabbi Lionel Blue.

Keynote addresses will be given by Rabbis Sheila Shulman (founding Rabbi of BKY) and Elizabeth Tikvah-Sarah (Rabbi, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue) recalling 25 years since they were ordained.

London Gay Men's Chorus

London Gay Men’s Chorus

The service will also feature more than 50 voices of the London Gay Men’s Chorus (LGMC), making a return appearance at WLS following last December’s hugely successful World Aids Day concert when almost 100 voices filled the WLS Sanctuary, and the LGMC Ensemble’s appearance at last summer’s Pride Chavurah at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood.

As well as taking part in the service, the LGMC will also perform a selection of topical numbers at the Chavurah that follows, alongside critically acclaimed lesbian comedian, Rosie Wilby. There will be a bring-and-share buffet with bar and those attending are asked to provide vegetarian dishes and wine.

A special Pride exhibition by Rainbow Jews, an oral history and archive project exploring the intersection of Jewish and LGBT identities, will be open to view throughout.

Commenting on the event,  Rabbi David Mitchell says:

“It is largely through the passion, determination and industry of pioneers like my teachers  Rabbis Sheila Shulman and Elizabeth Tikvah-Sarah, that we  have such a vibrant LGBT community and are now able to officiate at same sex marriages in our progressive synagogues.”

  • Free admission to the exhibition, 7pm service followed by Kiddush – all welcome.
  • Admission to the 8pm Chavurah is by RSVP to: pride@wls.org.uk
  • Further press information: Jim Fletcher 07768 455667 or email at eretz@wls.org.uk