Wherever There Is Pride, There Is Hope: A Pride Month Kavanah on the Avot

pride flag against a blue sky with white clouds

בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁיֵּשׁ גַּאֲוָה, יֵשׁ תִּקְוָה 

(Bekhol makom she’yeish ga’avah, yeish tikvah)

We gather every week,

For this most sacred of days.

We light our candles, sing our praises,

eat our challah and drink our wine.

We say prayers of thanks,

of health and of honor.

We honor the name our G-d,

who brought us out of Egypt.

HaShem, HaShem HaKadosh, 

HaShem HaDomem, the Silent name.

We remember our ancestors,

and we invoke them by name.

Avoteinu v’imoteinu. 

Avraham, Yitzkhak v’Ya’akov. 

Sarah, Rivkah, Rakhel, Leah

Bilhah v’Zilpah. 

But in this month, for some of us,

there are more we must remember.

More to honor and sanctify.

We remember our queer predecessors,

Gilbert Baker, who gave us color,

Harvey Milk who gave us hope,

Marcia Johnson who gave us strength,

Larry Kramer, who gave us a voice.

We remember those we lost, and

honor those who we’ve carried.

We look to the future with love,

we cry for justice, we pray for peace,

and we long for an equality we don’t have.

We strive, and sweat, and cry, and hope,

we yearn for love; we mourn for loss.

We are human beings too, and we,

yes we all, as queers, as Jews,

as any which way we see ourselves,

we hope that together we find peace.

Peace in a world of suffering and injustice.

But, as we move towards that Justice,

which we are so called to pursue,

we can cling to a simple dream

that started with a rainbow and a brick.

A riot is where we started,

and a parade is where we are.

But when we are persecuted and even

executed in more than seventy nations

around God’s beautiful creation,

we can only look for hope from where we were,

and remember how we got here.

Hope is what led Marcia to throw the brick,

hope is what gave Larry the words for the pen,

hope is what gave Harvey the strength to run,

and Hope is what gave Gilbert our color.

When we mourn the death of many of our own

from AIDS, injustice, war and violence,

we can only cling to hope for a better world.

And wherever there is Pride, there is hope.

And wherever there is hope, there is joy.

And wherever there is joy, there is life.

And that life is sweet, and full of love.

So, when we say the Amidah,

I rise for Harvey and Marcia

who gave their lives, so we could be proud.

And unlike the silence of the Amidah,

unlike the silence of the unspeakable name,

as Harvey once said, “hope will not be silent.”

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