Last night, I was asked to speak at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, my synagogue in New York City. I go there when I'm in need of solace or succor or someplace with peaceful family. Well, it's an LGBTQetc inclusive congregation, and each year they have a Pride Sabbath, and they invite a cool person who speaks to them about pride. This year they chose me.
Every week, on the Sabbath, a different part of the Jews' journey to freedom is read. I asked Rabbie Sharon Klenibaum (upon whom I am secretly crushed out) what portion of the Torah would be read that evening. She told me that every Pride Month Sabbath at CBST, the congregation hears the story of how Noah finally sets foot on dry land, right after a HUGE MOTHER-FUCKING FLOOD has wiped out humanity. But God promises never to drown humanity again. He didn't preclude other methods, but we are definitely NOT going to drown. God makes this covenant with Noah, and to seal the bargain, He gives Noah a rainbow.
My queer Jew people in New York City hear that story every year, and it always gives us goose-bumps, the rainbow part—God's presence as we step out of the closet and onto dry land. So, I was supposed to talk from the bimah for 10-15 minutes—about anything I wanted. I thought it best to stick to the scripture, so I told a midrash—that's a Jew version of a parable, and sometimes even a koan. A midrash is a person's re-telling of some part of the Torah. I wanted to stay on point, so I told a story that I think makes the rainbow an even more important synbol LGBTQetc Pride. Download KB CBST Pride Shabat 2012 I closed the evening with a prayer, and a lot of people have asked me to post it. So, here's my Pride Sabbath Prayer for you. Enjoy being proud. kiss kiss, Auntie Kate
May all your deeds be mitzvahs.
May you find the fulfillment of your Desire in Sabbath.
May your power increase with every shred of power you use in service to another.
May you realize the goodness in yourself by admiring the goodness in others.
May yours be the face of your most cherished Deity.
May you come to respect yourself, whether or not anyone else gives you the respect you wish for.
May you know your own worth to humanity whether or not anyone else knows this about you.
May you walk always beneath rainbows where you are met with radical wonder and radical welcoming.
So say we all… Amen.