More than 20,000 people turned up to the Pride in London Parade at the weekend – part of the capital’s week-long Pride in London festival which takes place every year to celebrate gay rights.
Prior to the parade, the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group and Beit Klal Yisrael Synagogue held their Annual Pride Chavurah, which was hosted by West London Synagogue on Friday night.
More than 200 LGBT Jews and their partners enjoyed a Kiddush with Fizz followed by a moving service in the Sanctuary led by six LGBT Rabbis – Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, Rabbi Anna Gerrard, Rabbi David Mitchell, Rabbi Indigo Jonah Raphael, Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah and Rabbi Mark Solomon.
Rabbi Sarah and Rabbi Sheila Shulman are this July celebrating their ordination of the first two out lesbian rabbis in the UK. Unfortunately Rabbi Shulman was unable to attend the service due to bad health, but Rabbi Sarah gave a wonderful sermon recounting the past 25 years and the changes that the Jewish LGBT world has seen.
Participants were entertained by the well known lesbian comedian Rosie Wilby, and then sixty members of the London Gay Men’s Chorus sang.
An Appeal was made during the evening for JGLG’s latest venture – Jewish LGBT+ Youth – the first ever organisation for the Jewish LGBT+ community aged 16-21 years.
Sadly missing from the evening was Rabbi Lionel Blue whose partner of 35 years, Jim Cummings, had died two days before. Rabbi Blue has been a regular attendee of Pride Chavurahs for many years and was sorely missed.
The Service alternates yearly at the flagship Reform and Liberal Synagogues and next year returns to the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood.
Pictures: Francois Lubbe @HotSaltBeef