The J planning Shabbat Picnic to celebrate Pride month

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The St. Louis Jewish Community Center and its partners will host a Pride Shabbat Picnic in celebration of Pride Month on Friday, June 24 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+, their allies and families of all kinds are invited to the community-wide event at the J’s Day Camp Pavilion on the Staenberg Family Complex campus in Creve Coeur.

“Everyone is welcome at the J,” said Lynn Wittels, President & CEO of the J. “We’re proud to offer our Pride Shabbat Picnic to our community as an intentional event and space where our LGBTQIA+ members and families are embraced.”

At the core of the J’s belief system is that everyone deserves to be safe, supported, respected, empowered and equal in all its spaces and programs. “All members, participants, staff and volunteers are celebrated in the spirit of the Jewish tradition that all humans are created b’tzelem Elohim, ‘in G-d’s image,’” the J wrote in a release.

The J is co-hosting this event with it’s community partners, including the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, PJ Library and Keshet. Additionally, support for the event was provided by the J Associates.

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“It is so important for LGBTQIA+ Jews and our families to celebrate who we are in Jewish spaces. For me, my Jewishness is informed by my queerness, and my queerness is informed by my Jewishness,” said Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael, who serves as Keshet’s Director of Education and Training. Rabbi Buck-Yael will also lead the Shabbat services and light the Shabbat candles at the picnic.

Attendees are asked to bring their own blanket and dinner to enjoy picnic style. There will be ice cream and interactive activities, such as face painting, music, a photo booth and a community art project.

Jennifer Baer, Director of Family Engagement at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, adds that this Pride Shabbat Picnic keeps with Jewish values as it embraces b’tzelem elohim, kavod (respect) and adam yehidi nivrah (every person is uniquely beautiful).

“We want to inspire and promote deeper lessons about self-love,”said Baer. “It’s a powerful message to be comfortable with who we are and to love ourselves.”

Participants that RSVP by Wednesday, June 22 will receive a free dessert treat. To RSVP, visit here.