“We’ll be there, cheering people on and answering questions,” says the new J-Pride Director, Mindy Teele. “In our booth, we will have a rabbi there for specific religious questions, too.” Teele emphasizes it will be a fun opportunity for everyone to engage in one space and feel connected to each other and the Jewish community that supports LGBTQ rights all the way.
While Pride Festival is a big event for J-Pride, it’s just a small part of what the organization does throughout the year to bring together queer Jews and their supporters. They host regular happy hours, Hanukkah and Shabbat parties. “We want everyone to feel embraced and part of the community,” Teele said.
J-Pride also provides rabbinical counseling and resources for Jews of all orientations. “We have connections with rabbis throughout the reform and conservative Jewish communities,” Teele says. “They’re very, very accepting and open to helping individuals connect with Judaism in any way that fits their life.” She wants everyone to feel comfortable coming to J-Pride as a resource for questions and to find support. She’s also hoping more people want to get involved with the organization by volunteering or attending an event.
Teele’s mission as the new Director is to get J-Pride on its feet and bring it forward. She became personally invested in LGBTQ rights when a close friend of hers went through the gender-change process and she witnessed the powerful transformation. “It’s a big time of change in society for gay rights. People are more open now and I hope my children’s generation will benefit from that inclusivity,” Teele says of the landmark court cases supporting gay marriage. “I have young kids at home and I think my position as J-Pride Director is a powerful opportunity for them to understand the importance of diversity.”
Schmooze is a regular column featuring Jewish organizations in the Twin Cities. Get out there and schmooze it up!