Pride, not prejudice

Jerusalem hosts an array of all-embracing events.

Yiscah Smith in Mahaneh Yehuda (photo credit: MICHAL FATTAL)
Yiscah Smith in Mahaneh Yehuda
(photo credit: MICHAL FATTAL)
With the Tel Aviv Pride Parade taking place today, June 3, and with a plethora of events happening in the capital during the days to follow, it might be a good idea to get out your iCalendar or Moleskin notebook and make a list. While most events are not strictly LGBT-related, they all promote a pluralistic and inclusive Jerusalem (with the city’s own pride week taking place at the end of July).
When asked about the upcoming events, Ben Katz of the Shoval organization summarizes, “People put aside politics and come together; just the experience of being around so many people you don’t know and sharing this common value of tolerance is a real source of strength.”
A Different Day in Jerusalem
“A Different Day in Jerusalem,” also known as “Reclaiming Jerusalem Day” will play host to a slew of events June 4-5, taking place in and around Baka’s First Station. Jerusalem Day is an opportune time to emphasize the need for a more open-minded and united Jerusalem for all of the multitudinous identities and groups living here, given that it commemorates the reunification of the city following the Six Day War.
Featured events range from performances, discussions, tours, activities, education and action in the public sphere. Highlights include “Do You Love Jerusalem(ites)?,” sponsored by the Anglo Tolerance Network, where participants can pull out inclusive-related questions from a fishbowl, discuss the answers openly, and maybe even win a prize.
Yoga Salam welcomes people of all religions, languages, and persuasions for yoga and meditation with guidance in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
The popular dance party, Boogie, is holding a special dancing-for-tolerance event. There is also a unique interfaith dialogue at the Temple Mount, hosted by MK Yehuda Glick and Yariv Oppenheimer.
“A Different Day in Jerusalem” is a project of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center with support from the UJA-Federation.
For more information:
Yerushalmit’s Jerusalem Day Parade
On June 5, the Yerushalmit Movement will host their third annual Jerusalem Day Parade. Led by brass band Marsh Dondurma, the parade will begin at the Oranim Junction and make its way to The First Station.
“We’re marching in order to celebrate Jerusalem Day, so that everyone who loves Jerusalem as a pluralistic place can come together,” states Yerushalmit executive director Shira Winkler-Katz.
“It used to be that during Jerusalem Day, the citizens would stay at home and only tourists came to celebrate.
We started this parade so that citizens could take responsibility for this day and celebrate the love that we have for our city – where it is now and the hope that one day we could all march together, all sectors and all people.”
Upon the parade’s arrival at The First Station, participants will hear from MK Rachel Azaria and enjoy activities for the whole family. It will conclude with a sing-along under the main tent, led by renowned singer Amir Shriver.
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Yerushalayim, Unity Within Oneself
Later in the evening on June 5, the Tmol Shilshom cafe will host “Yerushalayim, Unity within Oneself,” a talk by author and activist Yiscah Smith. Smith will share experiences from her personal transformation as a transgender woman, which served as the inspiration for her acclaimed autobiography, Forty Years in the Desert.
Smith asserts, “Jerusalem before Jerusalem Day was fragmented. Not to get into the political realm, but just the state of affairs was that of a fragmented city, and now it’s unified. Using that as the macro, I will speak to the spiritual condition of each of us as the micro.
“Before I transitioned, I experienced my own ‘six day war,’ with a lot of conflict and turmoil. Now there’s a sense of unity that is not without its challenges, much like our city today. We are each our own Jerusalem; at times at odds with ourselves. What we’re celebrating on Jerusalem Day is cause also for celebration of inner harmony.”
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From June 8 to10, the Jerusalem Cinematheque will host the JeruFest mini film festival, screening a selection of some of the best films from the Tel Aviv Fest addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics. Among the movies being showcased are the Italian drama Me, Myself and Her, about two women navigating the complexities of love, and the Australian Holding the Man, about two young men who fall in love only to be faced with the harsh reality of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.