A Shabbaton for LGBTQ+ Jews of Color, And More

Sage Cassell-Rosenberg gives their perspective on finding light in dark times and sharing their dreams for a more equitable Jewish future.

December 7, 2023

By Sage Cassell-Rosenberg

As we approach Hanukkah this year, I find it important and timely to ask, “What brings you light in times of unforeseeable darkness?”

For me, it’s community; the collective togetherness that lights my internal flame, illuminating a clear path out of enveloping darkness. However, since I was a young child, I’ve maneuvered Jewish spaces with the inherited burden of chronically feeling “othered.” As a young queer Jew of Color (QJOC), I often feel uneasy walking into Jewish spaces where I’m the only person who looks like me. But despite these challenges, I am on a continuous journey to reshape and reimagine these same spaces!

I dream of a world where QJOC can walk into every Jewish space, filled with overwhelming feelings of joy, love, and, most importantly, belonging. Despite the stinging memories of being “othered” in spaces where I should have felt the truest sense of belonging, I can also feel these wounded parts of me begin to heal. As Keshet’s Jews of Color Program Manager, I’ve now become the person charged with creating resources and spaces by and for QJOC, which is a blessing in every sense of the word.

On the same note of building toward my dream Jewish utopia, I am beyond thrilled and grateful to be able to announce the Keshet Neshamot/Rainbow Souls Shabbaton: A weekend retreat dedicated to the authentic, diverse, and glimmering spirit of QJOC. Co-led by Keshet and the JOC Mishpacha Project, this 18+ program will be held at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Baltimore, Maryland on Feb 16-18th, 2024. This event aims to be a transformative Shabbat experience filled with Jewish ritual building, workshops, shared narratives, melodic celebrations, and a whole lot of fun.

So, if you are someone who identifies as being both an LGBTQ+ Jew and a Person of Color and you would like to attend or be kept in the loop for updates on the Shabbaton, please complete this form here! If you are not a QJOC but are an ally, please help to amplify this event by sharing information about the Shabbaton with your community, organization, and networks.

I excitedly await this sure-to-be eclectic and electric gathering of queer Jews of Color, and wish you all a happy early Hanukkah! For all of us, more light, more strength, more wholeness.