JFCS Staff Q&A: J-Pride Coordinator Hunter Wengersky

JFCS’ J-Pride program creates community through queer-focused Jewish programming for LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies throughout the Twin Cities. New Program Coordinator Hunter Wengersky recently spoke about how they are excited to create connections in their role.

Why did the J-Pride Coordinator position appeal to you?

It appealed to me because of the ways in which it allows me to give back and create experiences and resources for my community. As a Queer Jew, it can sometimes be a bit of a balancing act to be in the wider Jewish community, and J-Pride is in a unique position to be able to step in and do direct acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world) to create a stable place for other LGBTQ+ Jews to land.

The J-Pride Coordinator role allows me to directly help my community and create experiences for us. J-Pride can also educate the wider Jewish community to help make their spaces more inclusive to their LGBTQ+ congregants. I deeply appreciate that this role allows me to use the skillset I’ve cultivated to help my community and create connections – this is a program that is for the community by the community, which is especially meaningful to me. 

How would you describe the purpose of J-Pride to someone who has never heard of the program?

J-Pride’s mission is to create community through queer-focused Jewish programming for LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies throughout the Twin Cities. We offer ritual, educational, and social opportunities by and for LGBTQ+ Jews and allies within the Jewish and broader community. J-Pride also supports Jewish communal organizations’ efforts to reduce barriers for full participation in Jewish life.

What are your goals for J-Pride in the coming year?

I am hoping to build upon where J-Pride is right now and create more accessible social, ritual, and educational experiences that connect to the larger Twin Cities community. There are so many cultural experiences in the Twin Cities, from museums to the numerous theaters and beyond. I hope to create unique opportunities for queer joy amidst the historic amount of homophobia and transphobia that is occurring worldwide.

I am greatly looking forward to hearing from our community partners and having a dialogue with the community about how J-Pride will be able to partner with them and create events for our community. If anyone has any ideas about programming, please send them my way! I’m always an open ear, and I’m excited to hear about any new ways that J-Pride can better serve our community.

Anything else you would like to add?

Since I am still a bit new to the Twin Cities, if anyone has any favorite places or Twin Cities fun facts, please feel free to reach out! We’ve got a ton of programming coming up soon, including a delightful walk around Lake Harriet and our J-Pride/PJ library fall family fun event!

You can contact Hunter at hwengersky@jfcsmpls.org.