Hosting a Pride Shabbat with Joy, Action, and Community

Get inspired for your Pride Shabbat with these tips from Keshet

You have one more Shabbat in June to celebrate Pride 2022! Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or an ally, you may be wondering how to bring Shabbat into your Pride celebrations or Pride into your Shabbat. Our friends at Keshet, which works for the full equality of LGBTQ+ people in Jewish life, have some ideas and tips for hosting a Pride Shabbat.

Want to host a Pride Shabbat dinner? Here’s how to start

No matter how you observe, every Shabbat is an opportunity for celebration, study, rest, healing, delight, and community. The month of June, Pride Month, is the perfect time to bring together your Jewish and queer selves, or your Jewish and queer communities, and a great time to learn more and deepen your support for LGBTQ+ rights.

However you plan to celebrate, please prioritize your community’s health. Nothing says “inclusion and belonging” like putting people’s safety first! Be proactive to check in about whether folks have been recently exposed to COVID-19 or are symptomatic. We suggest you gather in a small group, outside, or online. All of these gatherings can and will be special!

Two people are holding hands in front of a Pride flag

Make it festive and delicious!

There’s got to be music. Will you jam out to a Pride playlist, sing through Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy, or break out the guitars and drum on the table? LGBTQ+ themes are everywhere, from the traditional prayers to camp songs and dance jams. 

For your meal, maybe you want to whip up a glorious rainbow menu, or maybe you want to lavish your guests with a takeout meal from a local restaurant that supports the LGBTQ+ community. Or, go potluck and have your community bring dishes! Keep it inclusive and accessible by checking food restrictions and allergies. 

Set your tables with Pride flags and decorations. Visit Keshet’s website for printable signs and stickers!

Set aside time to learn and remember.

Brush up on some LGBTQ+ history and the origin of the rainbow flag with Keshet’s resources on the history of Pride symbols and today’s LGBTQ+ Jewish heroes. If you love a Jewish text study, check out the Sinai to Stonewall source sheet about Jewish values for inclusive communities. You could even welcome LGBTQ+ Jews from generations past to your Pride Shabbat table, or ask your guests to share the name of an admired or loved LGBTQ+ person they want to bring with them or honor.

And, especially if you’re an ally (meaning you’re not LGBTQ+ but you support LGBTQ+ folks!), make sure you’re learning and listening to LGBTQ+ folks about what it means to practice and cultivate allyship with our community.

Balance rest with action.

For some people, Shabbat is a respite from the busy world of action. For others, it’s a time to live out our deepest commitments to justice. Whatever your spiritual needs, your Pride Shabbat dinner can be a time to nourish yourselves with food, community, and insight, so that we can pursue justice and nurture joy. Consider whether you’ll take time at your dinner table to discuss how to take action for LGBTQ+ equality, whether you’ll share opportunities for action with your guests after shabbat is over, or both! Check out the guide for anyone to raise their voice for LGBTQ+ rights.

Express gratitude.

During Shabbat, we get “a taste of the world to come.” We get to practice gratitude and dream about a world of abundance. Think about how you will cultivate and share gratitude with your guests: maybe you’ll read aloud new poetry by LGBTQ+ Jewish writers, like Joy Ladin’s poem Ready. Or, maybe you’ll ask your guests to go around the table and share something they’re thankful for, what Pride means to them, or what’s in their dreams and hopes for Jewish and LGBTQ+ equality and liberation.

About Keshet

Keshet envisions a world in which all LGBTQ Jews and families can live with full equality, justice, and dignity. Keshet strengthens Jewish communities and equips Jewish organizations with the skills and knowledge they need to make all LGBTQ Jews feel welcome. Keshet also creates spaces in which all queer Jewish youth feel seen and valued and advance LGBTQ rights nationwide.

OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. The OneTable community is funded to support people (21-39ish), not in undergraduate studies, and without an existing weekly Shabbat practice, looking to find and share this powerful experience.

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