Gay Australian Jewry celebrate ‘bar mitzvah’

Gay Australian Jewry celebrate ‘bar mitzvah’

Appearance at LGBT festival in Sydney follows synagogue-hosted Shabbat dinner

SYDNEY (JTA) – Australian Jewry’s gay community celebrated its “bar mitzvah” at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

About 80 members of Dayenu, Sydney’s Jewish GLBT group, wore rainbow-colored prayer shawls and pink kippahs as they danced around a giant pink Star of David emblazoned with the words “Mazel tov” on Saturday in front of hundreds of thousands of supporters.

The Jewish float at the annual gay festival has been a feature since 2000, with the exception of 2006.

“We look forward to a future where we can strengthen our place in the communal landscape of Sydney,” Dayenu President Kim Gotlieb said. “There continue to be many people within the GLBT communities who experience difficulties with their families, as well as youth who struggle at school, and then deal with not-so-great coming-out processes. There are also the issues of people remaining in unsatisfactory marriages — sometimes associated with the pressure to keep up appearances, and sometimes concerned about the estrangement from family and community, which can emerge once one comes out in later life.

On March 1, a gay Shabbat service and dinner attended by about 75 people was held at Emanuel Synagogue, which has been supportive of Dayenu since 2000.

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