Affirming Who We Are

October 11, 2023

By Idit Klein

On Monday, many of our staff around the U.S. gathered together in our pain and sorrow. I told them, “We are living through something unprecedented in our lifetimes, even in my parents’ lives. This is the single largest loss of life the Jewish people have experienced in this time. Both the scale and the degree of brutality are staggering. I keep reminding myself of that fact when I feel paralyzed in my anguish, or when I talk to my family in Israel, as I’ve been doing every day since Saturday. Each time, they tell me that they’ve learned about another person in their lives who was killed or is missing.

In this time of enormous grief, I am deeply moved by people’s capacity to hold onto their humanity and clarity of vision. I think of our colleagues in Israeli LGBTQ rights organizations who are launching new programs to support traumatized youth. I think of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who met together yesterday and affirmed: “We are determined not to be enemies.” In the face of the horror we see in our newsfeeds, I am awed.

To all of you who have loved ones in Israel and to our friends and colleagues at Israeli LGBTQ and other justice organizations: know that we are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts. As we enter what will no doubt be a period of prolonged war and suffering, we pray that no more civilians, Israeli and Palestinian, will lose their lives.

Last week, we made plans to celebrate National Coming Out Day (October 11th) with joy and exuberance as we do every year. Today, 10/11/23, feels very different. While our joy today is overshadowed by sadness, we know that National Coming Out Day is about embracing oneself – even in sorrow and pain. We hope that offers some solace.