Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Washington DC Holds Vigil for Tel Aviv Victims; Israeli Conservatives to Hold Evening of Reconciliation

The gay Jewish community and allies in Washington D.C. held a vigil Monday to express solidarity with the victims and their families of the Tel Aviv LGBT center shooting Saturday, where a masked man dressed in black entered the facility and started shooting. Currently, the attacker has not been caught.

Attendees carried signs that read "homophobia is not part of the Torah," "Jewish, out & proud," "prejudice against one is prejudice against all." They lit memory candles and sang songs in Hebrew. Gay rabbis addressed the crowd and shared their experience of being homosexual and religious.

Two have died and fifteen injured in result of the attack, but Police Commissioner David Cohen called on the public not to blame specific sectors of the community for the attack for no evidence has yet to arise that it was a hate crime.

A source of Haaretz involved in the investigation noted that "there is no clear evidence at this stage indicating that this was a hate crime." Other sources said the investigation was expected to be lengthy.

Jewish World reports:
The Masorti (Conservative) Movement will hold an evening of learning, song and reconciliation that will coincide with Tuesday evening's Jewish "holiday of love" - Tu Be'av - in response to the fatal shooting attack on the LGBT community in Tel Aviv."

Events in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba will use Jewish texts and melodies to encourage discussion about "unconditional love," "tolerance" and "bridging the divides" in society, said organizers.


Rabbi Barry Schlesinger, president of the movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, said the events were being held because "we could not celebrate Tu Be'av and sing and dance while the families of those killed were mourning their dead.

"I thought it was much more fitting to have an evening of Torah study and introspection as a way of beginning to process of repentance ahead of Yom Kippur."
It will be interesting to see who attends the night of reconciliation. Times has done an article titled "Gay vs. Orthodox: A Deadly Turn in Israel's Culture War?", shedding light on the growing tension between the communities.

Tel Aviv is not far from some of the more "inflexible Orthodox communities in the country..." If members of these communities show, maybe a dialogue could begin.

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