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Last week, a
retired guidance counselor at a Jewish community day school told me about her
seventh grade student who wanted to kill himself because he was gay. This
didn't happen years ago in a small town. This happened last year in a major
metropolitan area with a liberal Jewish community.
What would it
take for this gay student and so many other gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender, and queer Jews to feel proud and affirmed instead of isolated and
marked the first annual Harvey Milk Day.
Jewish communities across the country honoring the memory of this extraordinary
activist, a gay Jew who knew how to transform despair into hope. Imagine rabbis
dedicating their divrei Torah this week to Harvey Milk's message of
pride in identity. Imagine that seventh grade student walking into his
classroom and seeing a poster of Harvey Milk on the wall along with the usual
posters of Jerusalem
and Jewish baseball players. The poster would present Harvey as an American Jewish hero and provide
biographical information about his life.By this time next year, posters of
Harvey Milk will, in fact, be on the walls of day school and Hebrew school
classrooms around the country.
partnered with our friends at Jewish Mosaic to produce a series of educational
posters about famous GLBT Jews - of yesterday and today - who have transformed
our world. Over the next several months, we'll be sharing more about our
GLBT Jewish poster series and how you can bring these posters to your
Milk's memory be for a blessing, and may we continue heeding Harvey's call that "All young people,
regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive
environment in which to achieve their full potential." Ken yehi ratzon.
So may it be for us.
A big thanks to our
friends at The LGBT Alliance at The Jewish Community Federation and California
Faith for Equality for this great compilation of ways to honor Harvey Milk and
keep his vision alive.
haven't yet seen the incredible documentary The Times of Harvey Milk,
now is a perfect time. You can purchase
the film or watch it online.