Happy Pride Month - June 17, 2021

JFS celebrates Pride Month where we work every day to create and more welcoming, accepting and equitable community.

Posted
June 20, 2021
Graphic of a light bulb

Happy Pride Month - June 17, 2021

JFS celebrates Pride Month where we work every day to create and more welcoming, accepting and equitable community.

Posted
June 20, 2021

JFS Friends-

September 6th, 1998 my husband and I stood under the chuppah (wedding canopy) and exchanged vows. At the time, gay marriage was not legal and – to be honest – I never thought it would be in my lifetime. Since our marriage carried no legal weight at the time, after our vows, the Rabbi turned to the guests that were assembled and asked them to promise to support and uphold our union – hearing all of our friends and family respond in a resounding chorus of support was an emotional moment that I will never forget.

Looking back over the many years since I came to understand and accept that I was gay the famous quote from Theodore Herzl became my mantra:

“Im tirtzu ein zo agadah – If you will it, it is no dream”

At a time when many congregations were not accepting of gay members – the synagogue where I met my husband was created to be that welcoming space. When we couldn’t locate a siddur (prayer book) that used lgbtq affirming language – we wrote and published our own. We signed up and participated in every Jewish community event so the Jewish community knew who we were and we marched in every Pride Parade so that the lgbtq community knew who we were and that there was a safe and welcoming place waiting for them.

Tammy Baldwin, the first openly lgbt woman elected to the House of Representatives (1999) and to the Senate (2013) once said:

“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it's now okay to express ourselves publicly.
We make that day by doing things publicly until it's simply the way things are.”

On October 25, 2013 – fifteen yeas after we stood under the chuppah – the state of New York gave us a marriage license and the final part of the dream came true – the government finally recognized the reality of what my heart had known for so long.

I share this story in the hopes that it inspires you to believe that change is possible and to realize that each of us can play a part in making that change happen. Whether the issue is antisemitism or equity and inclusion for people of color or those with disabilities – there will not be a magic day when we wake up and it is all better – we make that day by doing things over and over until it becomes the way things are.

I am so happy to be celebrating Pride Month with my friends and colleagues at JFS where we work every day to create and more welcoming, accepting and equitable community.

Take care,

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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