Kabbalat Shabbat, (Welcoming the Sabbath,) is a traditional Jewish ritual marking the transition between the profane weekday and the holy Shabbat. Reform Jewish communities maintain this practice with certain ritualistic and textual revisions, in order to include gender and sexual categories previously excluded from mainstream traditional Jewish texts and rituals.
This lecture, based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork, will analyze the particular LGBTQ Kabbalat Shabbat. By creating unique rituals to mark phenomena of both oppression and exclusion, on the one hand, and of love and acceptance, on the other, the Reform congregation emerges as a religious safe space. This lecture argues that those rituals dedicated to and constructed by the LGBTQ community function as a performance of affirmation and empower of gender and sexual identities. This egalitarian performance fosters a shared political discourse for promoting the struggle for equal rights through a new religious practice.
This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.