Earlier this year I submitted a proposal to #MakeItHappen—an initiative ignited by the Schusterman Philanthropic Network generously supported locally by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation—to help fund grassroots ideas made by and for the Jewish community. A few months later found out that my idea had been selected!
It was a natural fit. The criteria were to imagine a project that would engage the Jewish community in a new way. There never has been a Jewish float in the Twin Cities pride parade and especially not a float accessible for folks with disabilities. So I threw my ideas together, and searched high and low until I found an amazing artist, Jael O’Hare, to help me turn this dream into a reality. I knew right away that Jael was the perfect person for this. Over a cup of coffee I learned that Jael was very connected to the Jewish community, a part of the queer community, and a fabulous contractor and innovator!
I asked Jael, “What is the most memorable float you have ever seen in a parade?”
His response was, “There is none. When I think of Pride parade floats it’s usually just gay men dancing around with their shirts off. That expression is fun, but not particularly memorable. I want the Jewish LGBTQ pride parade float to amaze the crowd and be memorable for the community.”
I then asked Jael if he could tell us a little bit about the float. “The float is actually a bowl of matzo ball soup,” he said.
Matzah balls are a classic Jewish food typically served during Passover, a time when Jews practice radical hospitality and celebrate freedom. “It is the perfect parallel and imagery for the queer community to recognize the awesomeness of a Jewish presence at the Ashley Rukes Pride Parade.”
Matzah ball soup is associated with being a nourishing Jewish food that symbolizes welcoming and openness. “Based off of Shana’s original idea, I am going to create a campy and cartoony version, an almost sappy-sweet way of communicating that the Jewish community embraces and welcomes LGBTQ Jews, friends and allies.”
I hope that the community gets a chance to join us this year at the Twin Cities Pride Parade. I am still looking for people to dance on the float and march alongside of it. We are meeting THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 29th at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 3rd Street. The float is unit # 49 in the line-up which is at the very beginning of the parade!
A tremendous thank you goes out to all of community partners: Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School, Bet Shalom Congregation, Beth El Synagogue, Beth Jacob Congregation, Hillel, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Jewish Community Action, Jewish Family Service of St. Paul, Jewish Federation of Greater St Paul, Jewish Recovery Network, Mayim Rabim Congregation, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Mount Zion Temple, NCJW Minneapolis, Or Emet, Sabes JCC, Shir Tikvah Congregation, Sholom, St. Paul JCC, Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, Talmud Torah of St. Paul, Temple Israel, Temple of Aaron, and TC Jewfolk.
And special thank you to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation for helping to #makeithappen!
Going to be at Pride? Post your photos on Instagram and tag them with #tcjewfolk. The best photos will get featured on our Facebook page, and our favorite photo will earn the picture taker a handful of our Pride temporary tattoos and first access to our super secret new swag.