Friday, June 09, 2017

Celebrating with Pride

Written by  Rabbi Jan Dodi

Many in our community will put on costumes, change their normal appearances, get dressed up and decked out to prepare for Pride celebrations. My advice is that no matter what changes we make to our appearances – we stay true to ourselves. It is so easy to get lost in the moment.

The Jewish calendar presented us with the holiday of Shavuot the last week of May. This is the time when we received the “Ten Commandments” – but the lesson for us is that we continually receive them, each and every year. How does this work? We are taught that in every generation we need to find meaning in our teachings that apply to our lives.

What does this have to do with Pride? In the ten commandments, we are taught how to act and treat each other. They remind us that we are not the be all and end all, that there is something bigger and greater than us – a higher power. Another commandment teaches us to honor our parents. Two interesting and often difficult teachings to take into our daily lives.

I have written about having a higher power in my life. How it is important for me to go into each day understanding that there is so much more than me. As I go out to enjoy the celebrations with friends and acquaintances, I need to stay grounded. I need to see the good, higher power in them as I want them to see it in me.

The tricky commandment for some of us is that of honoring our parents. This one doesn’t always work. So many of us have been hurt, and some abandoned, by our parents when we came out. It took me a while to come to terms with this commandment. I have learned that I can honor them by being the best I can be. Whether or not the lessons they taught and the virtues that embraced line up with who I am, I have learned from them. I learned that the prejudices they lived with do not serve me. Instead they fuel me on to be a better person, they pushed me to work for human rights and gay rights. They have sparked the flames that keep me going. As we go out to celebrate, the last of the top ten tells us not to covet our neighbors. As we meet and greet, keep this in mind. Be glad for your friends who have achieved their goals, who are happy with their partners, and committed to their marriages. Celebrate the good that is in your life. Rejoice with what you have, the accomplishments you have made, the relationships you hold dear. And, rededicate yourself to be even better, happier, and content.

My prayer to all of you is to go out and celebrate with pride and joy.

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