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.