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Atlanta's LGBT-founded synagogue Congregation Bet Haverim hosts two events during Atlanta's “Stonewall Month” celebrations. The first, a pet blessing and picnic at Mason Mill Park, will be held June 23.
The pet blessing will be a unique event, said Bet Haverim Rabbi Rabbi Joshua Lesser, who is gay.
LGBT people, especially those without children, often form a unique bond with their pets, Lesser added.
In addition to more typical house pets, Lesser said any and all animals are welcome to the event.
Rabbi Joshua Lesser from Atlanta’s Congregation Bet Haverim was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of America's “most inspiring” rabbis alongside 35 other Jewish spiritual leaders this week.
Lesser is openly gay. Congregation Bet Haverim was founded by lesbians and gays and is now home to a diverse Reconstructionist community.
Amy Robertson, a member of Congregation Bet Haverim, doted on the rabbi in her nomination:
Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Atlanta's Congregation Bet Haverim was a guest on CNN to talk about ways to include faith-based resolutions as we ring in 2013 tonight.
Lesser, who is openly gay (and a proud gym enthusiast), praises working on physical fitness as a resolution. But faith is also something we can work on, he said.
"Our bodies and minds and our spirits are all connected and we need to attend to them and the New Year is a great time to check in," he said.
The annual “Festival of Lights” Hanukkah celebration, held at the LGBT-inclusive Congregation Bet Haverim on Dec. 14, promises activities to appeal to all ages under the overall theme of diversity.
Hanukkah is an event that can often seem to appeal more to children than adults, according to CBH Executive Director Amy Robertson. She and the staff are looking to change that.
“In our early years, we didn’t have a lot of children here, but over time we have had more and more families,” says Robertson. “We want to make the evening one where everyone can have a great time.”
Atlanta’s LGBT Jewish community will host a Pride Seder service as part of Stonewall Month. Set for Friday, June 22 at the Central Congregational Church, the seder is being organized by Congregation Bet Haverim and the Atlanta Pride Committee.
“Seder” in Hebrew means “order” or “arrangement” and is most commonly linked with the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Passover Seder is a family ritual which involves the retelling of the Israelites’ escape from bondage in ancient Egypt.
This year’s Pride Seder service is entitled “No Place Like Home” and will place an emphasis on homelessness in the LGBT community, particularly among young people, according to Congregation Bet Haverim Rabbi Joshua Lesser.