The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Kehillat Beth Israel and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa will host Pride Shabbat Dinner, “a celebration of Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities,” on Friday, August 25, as part of Ottawa’s Capital Pride Festival.
Ariella Kimmel, CIJA’s senior manager for partnerships, said the Ottawa dinner was part of a series of Shabbat dinners being held across Canada bringing Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities together during local pride festivals.
“As two of the most targeted communities for hate crimes in Canada, it’s important that the two communities stand together against hate and bigotry,” she said.
“This is the first year CIJA is working with local Jewish communities and our National LGBTQ+ Advisory Council to plan five Pride Shabbat dinners in cities across the country. We will also be marching in various pride parades in Canada.
“The Shabbat dinners are an important step in building stronger ties between the Jewish and non-Jewish LGBTQ+ community and our allies,” Kimmel said. “They offer a space for non-Jews to learn more about the Jewish community, while creating an environment for open dialogue.”
The dinner will be led by Scott Goldstein, director of community collaboration at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and will be preceded by a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by Rabbis Eytan Kenter and Deborah Zuker of Kehillat Beth Israel.
After dinner, “The Book of Daniel,” a 10-minute play about a Jewish high school student grappling with being gay and coming out, will be presented. The performance will be followed by a talk-back with playwright Lawrence Aronovitch.
Rabbi Zuker, Kehillat Beth Israel’s ritual, education and outreach director, said issues of inclusion and pluralism are among the founding values of the congregation and the event “is an opportunity for us to be at the forefront and illustrate these values. We will also participate in the Sunday parade.”
The Pride Shabbat Dinner is being supported by a Federation Emerging Generation (EG) grant.
“EG is happy to support initiatives that help bring together young Jewish adults in our community to celebrate, learn, schmooze and unite,” said Byron Pascoe, chair of EG grants committee, “We are proud to support this meaningful event.”
“It is important for the Jewish community to participate in Pride, and to find ways to bring the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities together,” added Kimmel. “CIJA hopes to see the community both celebrating Pride Shabbat and marching in the Capital Pride Parade.”
Pride Shabbat Dinner takes place Friday, August 25, 6 pm, at Kehillat Beth Israel, 1400 Coldrey Avenue. Tickets are $18 (adults) and $10 (students, children, underemployed) and must be reserved in advance at http://tinyurl.com/pride-shabbat-ottawa.