HUC-JIR/Jerusalem on Gay Pride March Stabbings

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes:

Some 5,000 strong gathered to begin their march in Jerusalem. The LGBTQ community had chosen the theme of "transgender" to be the focus of the march. The mood was celebratory as we began the colorful and joyous parade of the Israeli rainbow. Members of our Israel Reform Youth group walked alongside a group called "Orthodox gays;" our Year-In-Israel students joined in what promised to be a message of tolerance and hope.

However, the march went awry when the same deranged man who had previously stabbed marchers ten years ago went after six participants, injuring them all, two very seriously. Just days after having been released from jail, he attacked again.

Within the hour, we verified that all our North American and Israeli students were safe. Special thanks to our devoted Head of Student Welfare, Nancy Lewitt, who activated our "alert system" and received within minutes, a precise head count that all is well.

We now pray for the complete recovery of the injured. We stand firm and committed to an open and inclusive Jerusalem. We are proud that our students joined this Pride demonstration and remain resolute in their affirmation of freedom and co-existence in this city that challenges and answers our prayers.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.