By Shana Cohen, J-Pride Coordinator:
It all started in July. I was hired by Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) to coordinate J-Pride (a program to engage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Jews in Minnesota) and then I was asked by the amazing Leora Itman to sit on the Jewfolk Media board. In a blink of an eye, the idea of matching J-Pride to TC Jewfolk was bashert. It just makes sense to pair the online platform of TC Jewfolk with a community program that shares the same values!
J-Pride was looking for a way to offer a calendar of events, supply the community with resources, and connect the LGBT Jews together. We shopped around, thought about going solo, or creating our own website. But when the opportunity presented itself TC Jewfolk had all the qualities of a perfect partner: a great sense of humor, an attractive platform, open-mindedness, wisdom, and willingness to make mistakes. It was love at first sight!
The platform that TC Jewfolk provides was the perfect fit for a community program like J-Pride. J-Pride currently exists as a community program housed at JFCS thanks to our very generous lead sponsor, Lisa Heilicher. While J-Pride is supported by JFCS today, J-Pride historically began as a grass-roots community group working for visibility and inclusion of LGBT Jews. Minnesota was not always the most welcoming to LGBT Jews. J-Pride exists as a product of countless years of activism, organizing, and the difficult journey of moving hearts and minds along the spectrum of mere tolerance to full inclusion. TC Jewfolk also began as a grass-roots community building project and in many ways still is. The shidduch between TC Jewfolk and J-Pride just makes sense.
And it couldn’t come at a better time. We are so lucky to live in a state with same-sex marriage, a fabulous Twin Cities Pride Festival, and a plethora of opportunities in the Jewish community that encourage its LGBT members to participate in. Over the course of the next few months, J-Pride will be slowly adding content to our page through participation of the synagogues, agencies, and a dedicated advisory group and steering committee.
Many thanks go out to: Aaron Dahl, Alisa Cohen, Chad Kampe, Meir Chris Bargeron, Emily Bick, Enzi Tanner, Harvey Zuckman, Jessica Zimmerman, Jory Herman, Joshua Ribnick Mann, Laurel Luxenberg, Lee Silverstein, Miryam Kabakov, Phil Oxman, Rabbi Aaron Weininger, Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, Rabbi Sharon Steifel, Rory Zamansky, and Steve Greenberg. Thank you for being the guiding light to this community program.
Stay tuned for more content, resources, and opportunities for LGBT Jews and our allies!
By Bradley Machov, Editor of TC Jewfolk:
We are so excited to welcome J-Pride on board to the TC Jewfolk platform. One of the primary missions of TC Jewfolk is to expand the net of Jewish participation in the Twin Cities, whether you’re gay, straight, introverted, extroverted, Jewish, Jew-ish, or just a bagel lover. We strive to be THE online resource for all the amazing things happening in our Jewish community.
J-Pride has already established itself as THE place to find information about the Jewish LGBT scene in Minnesota. We’re honored that they believe so much in us to make TC Jewfolk the place to find J-Pride. We’ve never made a secret of our support for the LGBT community in the Twin Cities and beyond, and hosting J-Pride’s official website within the framework of TC Jewfolk lets us go one step further.
While the J-Pride page(s) will largely be maintained by J-Pride staff and volunteers, we’re excited to partner with them on content and energy to make the Twin Cities the most exciting place in the country to be Jewish.
Check out the J-Pride page, then head back over to the TC Jewfolk main page to see what other exciting things are happening in our community!