We Created Something Truly Sacred

March 15, 2023

By Youth Programs Team

This past weekend, Keshet had the honor and joy of welcoming 84 LGBTQ+ Jewish teens and educators to our 11th annual LGBTQ+ and Ally Teen Shabbaton.

For 48 hours, we created something truly sacred: a space where queer and trans voices and experiences were centered, where we could explore the basics of printmaking and delve into studying Torah and Gemara as LGBTQ+ people, where we could pray together, and where we experience queer and trans Jewish joy.

Our youth need these holy spaces where they can simply be. For a weekend, they could forget about drag show bans, losing access to life-saving medical care, or not being able to be themselves at home or in school. LGBTQ+ youth are regularly witnessing their rights, and their peers’ rights, being debated in public. In this landscape, moments of LGBTQ+ Jewish celebration are vital. 

“Barukh ha-mavdil bein qodesh le-ḥol.”

“Blessed is the one who can separate between the sacred and the ordinary.”

This is the last line of Havdalah, the ritual that separates Shabbat from the rest of the week. This line also marked the moment when we would all prepare to return home from the Shabbaton. As we said to our participants on Saturday evening: Just as we cannot forever stay in Shabbat – a holy 25 hours suspended in time from the rest of the week – so, too, we cannot stay at the Shabbaton forever. And yet, these two incredible days gave us sustenance and glimpses of the world we are all working to build together: a world filled with joy, celebration, queer and trans Torah, and so, so much nail polish.

May we all find moments of joy to sustain us.

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