Pride celebrations will go on this year for LGBTQ+ Jews with a virtual iteration of Jew York Pride, a collaboration between Out at the J of the Upper West Side’s Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and major Jewish LGBTQ organizations of New York and around the country. The free event will be held on Sunday, June 28 at 11 a.m. EST, making it even more inclusive and accessible to Queer Jews across the United States and around the world. It will feature an incredible, diverse lineup of speakers, including many Jewish queer celebrities from the stage, screen, and pop music.
For over 15 years, hundreds of New York LGBTQ+ Jews and allies have been gathering together before the Pride Parade on the last Sunday in June to celebrate Jewish queer pride as one large community. Jew York Pride has been the focal point for LGBTQ+ Jewish teens and young adults during Pride Sunday in NYC, and this year will be no exception. The event is free and open to anyone who loves LGBTQ+ Jews. To register, visit this website.
Jew York Pride is an interactive program produced in collaboration with Adam Kantor (Broadway star and creator of Saturday Night Seder) and will include an hour of music, comedy, food, art, drag, poetry, teen performances, and special guest appearances.
The lineup hopes to represent the diversity and uniqueness of the queer Jewish community. Rupaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Velour will headline the event, speaking to how her queer and Jewish identities have influenced her art.
The theme will be an exploration and celebration of the many meanings, faces, and narratives of queer Jewish pride. Queer Jewish food Insta-influencer Jake Cohen will introduce participants to Sephardic and Mizrahi recipes he learned from his husband’s family. Renowned choreographer Gabe Katz will teach a ballroom and Israeli-dance influenced combination to Jewish queer singer Troye’s Sivan’s music. Finally, a special spotlight will shine on the women at the helm of the LGBTQ+ Jewish movement, and the collective responsibility to show up for Black lives, LGBTQ+ Jewish youth from Orthodox homes, and queers living in countries where their lives are in danger.
“Queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere” is how Adam Eli, the event’s cohost puts it. As the author of The New Queer Conscience and founder of Voices4, an activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation, Eli sees this event within the context of the greater queer movement that is merging with Black Lives Matter and the fight against all intersecting oppressions. He adds, “I am going straight from co-hosting this event to Queer March for Black Lives.” Levi Maxwellwill be featured as the second cohost. As a youth advocate, community activist and disco club Kid, Levi is a leader and non-binary black Jewish role model for Jewish queer teens everywhere.
“We have been so proud to work with our Jew York Pride partners to bring together our community and celebrate Pride over the years,” says Mark Labadorf, director of Out at the J. “This year, it’s more important than ever to continue to provide content, connections, resources, and community to LGBTQ Jews as we fight these isolating times and celebrate when we can.”
Jacob Steinberg, an 18-year-old recent graduate of Yeshiva University High School, describes Jewish queer pride as a refuge in which to recharge his resilience. “The way I managed to survive the unwelcoming environment in my Orthodox high school was knowing that I had access to this loving and celebratory island of queer Jewish Pride.”
Rachael Fried, executive director of Jewish Queer Youth, a nonprofit supporting LGBTQ youth from Orthodox homes, insists that Pride is not merely a party, but an essential part of healing from internal messages of worthlessness and shame. “For many of our teens, celebration of their full selves is the ultimate act of resistance. Some have waited their entire lives to walk down the street and be shown love for the parts of them they thought must be rejected. The rainbows, the music, the flags and the cheers are essential, and if our teens can’t come to Pride, we will bring Pride to them.”
Jew York Pride is presented by JQY, Out at the J of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Keshet, CBST, BBYO, and UJA-Federation of New York.
About the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Together with its community, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. Located at 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the JCC is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side. The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants’ minds, bodies, and spirits. Since its inception, the JCC has been committed to serving the community by offering programs, classes, and events that extend beyond neighborhood boundaries, reaching people at all stages of their lives. Learn more at jccmanhattan.org.