South Bay Pride

When we hear of events taking place in San Jose or Los Gatos, we often dismiss them, thinking they don’t apply to us.  I want to tell you about an event that I hope you will attend.

But first, I just returned from the 13th Anniversary Shabbaton (Shabbat retreat) of the AJRCA (Academy of Jewish Religion, California) where I attended rabbinical school and received my smicha (ordination).  What an inspiring weekend it was, ending with the rabbinic ordination of my good friend, Meeka Simerly.  The weekend was spent celebrating Shabbat and learning from my esteemed teachers and colleagues.  I return to you refreshed, inspired, and eager to begin the next years of my service as your spiritual leader.  It only took a weekend!

While I was there, I had the opportunity to do a lot of chatting with one of the rabbis who was in AJRCA’s first class, Rabbi Tsipi Gabai.  Rabbi Gabai is the rabbi who made national news in March, 2015, after she created a ceremony to mark the transition of Tom Chai Sosnik.  Tom is a transgender teen, who is Rabbi Gabai’s student at the Tehiyah Day School of El Cerrito, where she is has been director of Hebrew and Jewish studies for 26 years.

Rabbi Gabai is a descendent of a long line of rabbis, and is the first female Moroccan rabbi.  In my conversations with her I found her to be wise, full of humor, and personally inspiring.  I want to share her with you, and hope you will make every effort to attend South Bay Pride Shabbat on June 10 (services and potluck vegetarian dinner), beginning at 6:30 PM, at Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos.  Emeth is a co-sponsor and I will be participating in the service. Come and be inspired by her remarkable story!

May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace.

Rabbi Debbie Israel