J-Pride made its presence felt during Pride month

J-Pride’s activities in June included a Shabbat service, happy hour, parade marching and more


By Jayce Koester • J-Pride Coordinator


Leading up to Pride, I kept joking that our Jewish new year turns over at Rosh HaShanah, the gregorian new year turns over on Jan. 1 and the queer organizer’s new year turns over at the end of June. Now that we’re half way into July, it feels like we’ve turned over to the next page and enjoyed such a successful Pride celebration with our J-Pride Community. Pride is only a small piece of J-Pride’s programming; we work all year long to build community, host convenings, provide educational opportunities for Jewish community organizations, and grow a more inclusive nourishing space for LGBTQIA+ Jews of all backgrounds. Pride is a special moment, though, that allows so many in our community be visible and open and connected to the broader LGBTQIA+ community.


I want to give a deep heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors, supporters, friends and volunteers who showed up to make all of our programs possible. We gathered for a Drag Story hour, studied during Shavuot, enjoyed a delicious Urban Growler happy hour, prayed together at Mayim Rabim for Kabbalat Shabbat, paraded the Torah throughout the crowd of over 100 people at our Shabbat morning service, danced and laughed our way down the Parade route, and made so many new connections at the J-Pride booth. It took all of us to celebrate a month of pride, love, and renewal. I am constantly thankful to be working in such an enthusiastic, warm, thoughtful, joyful, and inclusive community.


There’s one story I want to share that so fully exemplifies why we love being at Pride every June. While we were sitting at the booth, someone came by and asked if we could help them put together a minyan. It was their father’s yartzheit and they needed a minyan to pray mincha and recite kaddish. Luckily many of our friends from Adath Jeshurun Congregation were meeting at our booth before going off to other Pride celebrations, and within five minutes there was a minyan gathered behind the booth. In that moment it became so clear why we do this work – to be there when LGBTQIA+ Jews need their community to show up for them. If the only thing we did in June was help bring together enough Jews to have a minyan then, dayenu! It would have been enough!


Are you interested in getting involved in our upcoming programming? Great! We would love to see you at a community Mikveh on July 28, at our Kabbalat Shabbat with Mount Zion Synagogue and Caring Connections on Aug. 16, or for our upcoming high holidays and fall programming – more information to be announced soon! For more information about J-Pride, feel free to email me at jkoester@jfcsmpls.org.


J-Pride’s mission is to engage Minnesota based Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQIA+) Jews and their allies to come together for social events, community gatherings, celebrations, and educational opportunities.