New York City’s official Pride parade may have been canceled this year, but queer people found new and innovate ways to celebrate. For one, there was the Queer Liberation March, the 2nd annual Pride celebration standing for Black Lives and against police brutality, which around 50,000 (!) people joined in on.
And for LGBTQ+ Jews, there was Jew York Pride, a virtual celebration connecting LGBTQ+ Jewish teens and young adults. Featuring author and activist Adam Eli, drag queen Sasha Velour, food writer Jake Cohen, queer youth advocate Levi Maxwell, Broadway star Alexandra Silber, and many more, Jew York Pride was a glorious celebration of all things queer and Jewish. The digital “brunch” was organized by Jewish Queer Youth (JQY) (an organization dedicated to empowering LGBTQ+ youth from Orthodox, Hasidic, and Sephardi/Mizrahi homes), Keshet, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, BBYO, and UJA-Federation of NY. And, Alma (that’s us!) was a media sponsor of this event.
If you weren’t able to join, have no fear! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite moments from the program. Even though it’s July, and not technically “Pride Month” any longer, we can celebrate queer Jews all year long. (And here at Alma, that’s exactly what we do.) After all, pride is a state of mind, right? L’chaim!
Sasha Velour is Here for Jewish Queer Youth
RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Velour is amazing. The genderfluid Jewish drag queen and visual artist tuned into Jew York Pride to share a “highly revisionist prayer,” which is “how my family practices Judaism.”
“Blessed are You, God, the Universe, who created queers. Thank you for faggots. Thank you for dykes. Thank you for bi and pansexuals. Thank you for trans people and the fact that gender is not a binary. Thank you for femmes. Thank you for beauty. Thank you for Black trans liberation. Thank you for prison and police abolition. Thank you for decolonization around the world, from Puerto Rico to Palestine. Thank you for disability. Thank you for consent. Thank you for language, for pronouns, for names. Thank you for time for aging, for growth. Thank you for sex. Thank you for emotion. Thank you for life. Amen.”
Sasha’s inspiration for that prayer was “Litanies for My Heavenly Brown Body” by queer poet Mark Aguhar, which the star says changed her life.
Watch the rest of her message here:
“Tevya’s Queer Jewish Dream”
Here’s the description of Mordechai Zac Levovitz’s delightful adaptation of “Tevye’s Dream” from Fiddler on the Roof: “Telling Orthodox family members that your child is LGBTQ+ can be complicated. Good thing Tevya has his ancestors and his imagination to help him out.”
Trust me, just watch:
Jinkx Monsoon: Hopelessly Devoted to Jewish Queer Youth
Another amazing Jewish Drag Race winner!! Jinkx Monsoon sings “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease, dedicated to LGBTQ+ Jewish youth.
Come for the Grease cover, stay for the Cher impression and the powerful message of affirmation to queer Jewish youth:
A Message from Jackie Hoffman
The best line from her message? “If I look out and see a sea of gay Jews, it’s a dream come true.”
“If I Were a Cis Man”
Okay, this wasn’t technically made for Jew York Pride, but it aired during the event, and it’s simply amazing: “A Transtastic Parody of If I Were A Rich Man” by Sandy Sahar Gooen.
“Make Your Own Kind of Queer Jewish Music”
Last but not least, the teens!!! A heartwarming note to end on:
Pride is a state of mind, y’all.