By Peggy Sherwood, President of the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group ( www.jglg.org.uk )
A Chavurah was held by the Jewish LGBT group, JGLG (Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group) which welcomed members from the Muslim LGBT Group – Imaan.
About 70 JGLG members attended the event which was held in a synagogue in Central London.
The service was led by out gay rabbi, Rabbi Rene Pfertzel, and Rabbi Lionel Blue also attended.
Muslim friends participated in the service, joined us for Kiddush and supper and then gave us an enlightening account on being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in the Muslim world.
There were two speakers – one young English woman who told her story, about coming out, and how Imaan had supported and helped her.
The other speaker – a religious Muslim lesbian – was an asylum seeker from Morocco coming to the UK because of the impossibility of being lesbian in that country. Imaan had also supported her, helped her with legal representation and helped her build a life in the UK.
She told about her two identities, being Muslim and being lesbian and how through the support and experience of being within Imaan, it had enabled her to have one identity – that of a lesbian Muslim, something that many of us within JGLG could identify with in terms of our Judaism and sexual orientation.
Much of what they told us was like the struggle many of us had encountered as LGBT Jews and there were many similarities in both their stories and their traditions.
They enjoyed hearing about Judaism and there were many references by the Rabbis and members of JGLG as to how much the two religions have in common in terms of ancient history.
The Muslim guests enjoyed learning about Judaism and commented on what a wonderful community we have in JGLG.