“Our goal is that the Jewish community participates, especially in the parade Oct. 14,” said Rebecca Stapel-Wax, director of The Rainbow Center, a program of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (JF&CS). “Last year we had nine organizations participating with 36 individual marchers. This year we’d like to raise that to a Chai level with 18 organizations and 72 individuals. Purim off Ponce, The Rainbow Center’s annual fundraiser, takes place this February 16 and is honoring Sylvia ‘Double’ Gross, an 82-year-young bubbe. We think having double the crowd is a perfect tribute to her.”
The main mission of Pride is to provide the GLBT community with cultural and educational programs and activities that enhance mental and physical health, provide social support and foster an awareness in the general community.
Congregation Bet Haverim, a Reconstructionist synagogue founded by the gay and lesbian community in 1985, and The Rainbow Center, a social service program, have partnered for 11 years to have a Jewish presence at Pride. Following on last year’s Welcoming Synagogues Project (WSP), the two groups are hopeful the wider Atlanta Jewish community would have a strong presence again at this year’s Pride. The Temple and Temple Sinai participated in the WSP with the goal of making their synagogues more inclusive to GLBT members and potential members. This year The Weber School has joined on.
"Out of all of the Tikkun Olam events I have been to, I knew it (Pride 2011) was the place where my presence made the most difference," said Rabbi Loren Lapidus of The Temple.
The Rainbow Center and JF&CS hope Jews from throughout the community will get involved.
“Pride really connects to our Jewish values,” said Stapel-Wax. “It inspires – and is inspired by – Kavod (respect), B’Tzelem Elohim (made in G-d’s image), Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh (communal responsibility), Shmirat Halashon (guarding one’s language) and V’ahavtah L’Reiecha Kamocha (love your neighbor as yourself).
“When you’re at Pride, there is nothing like having 300,000 people cheer you on,” she continued. “The visibility of the Jewish community and its sheer presence is unparalleled. We have a booth in the park and will be joined by or have materials from all of the Jewish organizations that participate in the event.”
The parade will take place October 14, 2012, at 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the Civic Center Marta Station and march to Piedmont Park. For more information or directions, or to let the Rainbow Center know you’re coming, contact Rebecca Stapel-Wax at 404-275-4637 or info@TheRainbowCenter.org.
ABOUT THE RAINBOW CENTER
The Rainbow Center provides informational resources, sensitivity training and support for people of all ages and religions to foster inclusion and the honoring of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning people.
Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that offers a variety of programs and services to people in metro Atlanta, providing tools for living to individuals and families of all ages and needs. Having provided social services to the greater Atlanta community for 120 years, JF&CS has grown to serve more than 30,000 individuals annually. The agency currently manages more than 40 programs without regard to age, race, religion, national origin or ability to pay. For more information, call 770.677.9300 or go to www.YourToolsForLiving.org. The main office is located at 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Atlanta.