Organizers of North Carolina’s gay pride parade and festival have altered their schedule in order to attempt to resolve a conflict related to the annual event’s this year falling on the date on the calendar which conincides with Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, the Jewish “Day of Atonement,” is Judaism’s holiest day.
According to the Jerusalem Post:
Following the announcement of the date last month, organizers apologized for scheduling the parade for Yom Kippur and said they could not change the date. They said the parade has been held on the last Saturday of September for the past 17 years.
N.C. Pride organizers announced Friday that it had re-branded the event as N.C. Pride @ Night, a street fair that would start in downtown Durham and in downtown Raleigh at 4 p.m. on Sept. 30 and run until 4 a.m. on Oct. 1. The Pride Parade was cancelled for this year but is scheduled to return for 2018.
Several Jewish groups have marched in the parade in recent years.
Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill CEO Jill Madsen said that her agency is still planning to hold an alternative event planned for the Jewish community to celebrate LGBTQ pride set for Oct. 7, which falls during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, but is more manageable for the Jewish community. Madsen told local media that she was ‘grateful’ for the compromise from N.C. Pride.
There is a blatant irony involved in the conflict and apparent resolution. The short Torah reading of only 30 verses that has for millennia been on Yom Kippur afternoon will go on at the same time as what is now being called “NC Pride @ Night 2017,” which is scheduled to start at 4 P.M. in downtown Raleigh. That reading includes Leviticus 18:22, which reads: “You shall not lie down with a male, as with a woman: this is an abomination.”
There are 5,851 verses in the Torah’s Five Books of Moses, out of which exactly two – including the one read on Yom Kippur afternoon – deal with prohibitions on (male) homosexuality. (Homosexuality is actually not discussed directly in the part of Genesis dealing with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Some Jewish congregations, presumably more liberal and secular ones, apparently use an “alternate” Yom Kippur afternoon verse, consisting of 18 verses in Chapter 19 of Leviticus, in which homosexuality is not mentioned.
The subject of homosexuality simply does not come up in any other Jewish holidays, although a case could be made that the prevalence of homosexuality in Ancient Greek culture may have played a part in the conflict that eventually led to Hanukkah.
Pictured: Members of Carolina Jews for Justice marching, demonstrating, speaking truth to power or something.
Carolina Jews for Justice was among several Jewish groups that spoke out against the timing, calling it a ‘very significant and hurtful oversight.’ …
… Mille Rosen, speaking on behalf of Carolina Jews for Justice, says the change may allow more Jewish people to attend the event but doesn’t correct the fact that the Jewish community was overlooked in the first place.
‘They didn’t change it once they knew about the problem,’ she said, noting the parade is a main draw of the festival. …
… NC Pride executive director John Short told the Herald-Sun the schedule change is ‘the best under the circumstances’ and that the festival won’t conflict with a Jewish holiday again for several years—’the implication being that every few years, there’s a group that can’t participate,’ Rosen says.
Rosen says the whole ordeal was an example of Christian-centrism and the ‘thoughtlessness of Pride leadership in general.’ Several groups, including Carolina Jews for Justice, asked that the event be moved to October 1, but Rosen says NC Pride was unresponsive.
‘We asked them to change the date, not make it an overnight event,’ Rosen says.
Rosen says it’s not the first time NC Pride has left out a particular group. In 2015, musician Laila Nur said she was assaulted by a Pride official while trying to read a statement on behalf of a Black Lives Matter Group.