We Came Together in Hope

November 15, 2023

By Jon Grabelle Herrmann

Wow. And thank you.

At Keshet’s OUTstanding! 2023 gala last week, I was just wowed by the power of our community to hold so much at once. In a time of pain, we made space for joy. Amidst sorrow, we found laughter. And in the face of fear, we embraced hope. 

The honorees were asked where they find hope during a difficult time. Russel Neiss looked toward his Jewish community. “When our kid first came out to us five years ago, our Jewish day school had some learning to do. Keshet helped with the work, and there was a lot of work to be done. And I can say now that the school is fabulous and is spectacular. So much so that: when Missouri’s anti-LGBTQ bills were coming up in the statehouse, the school’s board gave permission for a teacher or administrator to give testimony on behalf of the school and students.. In a short time period, they went from nothing to being total and complete advocates. That’s one of the things that really gives me real hope.

And Michael W. Twitty showed us how to take hope from our tradition, offering a blessing for embracing our uniqueness: “‘Thank you for making me as I was created. Thank you for making me different. Thank you for making me the way you made nothing else in the universe.’” He continued, “That’s the bracha that I want you all to possess. Don’t let anyone take that from you.”

We thank our honorees for showing us that hope comes from us, from being part of a community. And we thank our 270+ gala donors who contributed over $210,000 to help surpass our fundraising goal! With your generous support, Keshet is bolstered in our capacity to fight for justice, honor our resilience, and build a better world.

Click here to see the full video of the evening, photos, and the digital ad book for OUTstanding! 2023.