Melbourne’s Largest Synagogue Celebrates GLBTI Festival

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Temple Beth IsraelTemple Beth Israel (TBI) is proud to host the first ever celebration of the Midsumma Gay and Lesbian Festival in a Victorian Synagogue on Friday 31 January 2014.

In partnership with Keshet, the national GLBTI (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Intersex) Jewish advocacy group, the Shabbat Service will focus on issues of inclusion, equality and human rights in the lead up to the final weekend of the Midsumma Festival 2014.

Leading members of the Melbourne Jewish community will be honoured at the evening service in recognition of their contributions to the Jewish GLBTI community.

Among those selected for an honour are Kristen Adriaan and Ilana Gelbart, Melbourne’s first gay couple to have a Jewish commitment ceremony earlier this year at Temple Beth Israel.

TBI Senior Rabbi Gersh Lazarow says that all Jews should feel welcomed and accepted in a Synagogue.

“Temple Beth Israel is a long-standing friend of the GLBTI community, and has been a home for many members of this group.” “We actively encourage members of the Jewish GLBTI community to form a meaningful spiritual connection at TBI.

While historically many from the GLBTI have felt isolated or shunned from faith based organisations, Temple Beth Israel, as part of the

Progressive Jewish movement, prides itself on principles of egalitarianism and respect for others.” Says Rabbi Lazarow.

Founded in 1930 by a few visionaries in the Melbourne Jewish community, Temple Beth Israel is the original Progressive synagogue in Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the most active and spiritually creative forces in the Australian Jewish community running a plethora of programs for all age and interest groups.

Keshet President Jonathan Barnett welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the community within the setting of a synagogue. “Keshet strives to cultivate the spirit and practice of inclusion in all parts of the Jewish community. To bring about long term change in institutional practices and beliefs we work in partnership with community leaders, such as TBI rabbis”, says President Barnett.