5 LGBT things you need to know today, June 26

1. Three women were asked to leave the Chicago Dyke March over the weekend because their rainbow flags bearing the Star of David symbol were said to make people feel "unsafe." 2. Meanwhile in Turkey, police ...
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Pet Blessing honors four-legged family

Rabbi Joshua Lesser

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.

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‘Yossi’ brings gay Israeli love story back to Atlanta screen

Yossi & Jagger film

“Yossi,” director Eytan Fox’s 2012 sequel to his 2002 film “Yossi & Jagger,” returns to Atlanta Feb. 22 for a one-week run at the Midtown Art Cinema.

“Yossi” was among the top 10 films screened at Atlanta’s gay Out on Film festival in last October. It features Ohad Knoller returning as the title character.

The first film was a minimalist gay love story set in a camp near the Lebanese border. Young army officers Yossi and Jagger fall in love, but Yossi is unwilling to risk his military career by being out. Then Jagger is killed in a raid.

“Yossi” is set 10 years later. Yossi, now a cardiologist, is still mourning Jagger. Not yet 34 but already old, he’s as closeted as ever, but the word is out about him in the Tel Aviv hospital where he works.

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[Video] Check out ‘HEbrew’ — the new hookup site for gay Jewish men


Atlantans Julian Modugno and Jamie Hawkins-Gaar are best friends who share a passion for making films. Modugno is gay. Hawkins-Gaar is not (and not that that matters). Modugno's day-job is in the art department for CW's "Vampire Diaries" and Hawkins-Gaar works in the electrical departments of various movies and shows filmed in Atlanta. They both love pushing the limits in their solo projects.

The duo founded Bland Hack Pictures and have been making short films for the internet for several years. Today, they debut their newest film, "HEbrew," that has a very gay theme — a dating app for Jewish men created by the makers of Grindr and J-Date and a funny commercial filled with bad puns (bar mitvah becomes bear mitzvah, for example) to promote it.

"The thing that's great about Bland Hack is that we're composed of one straight white guy and one gay white guy which basically makes us one of the Internet's most diverse comedy groups," Modugno says. 

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Stonewall: Pride Seder honors Jewish tradition with an LGBT twist

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.

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Myq Kaplan’s humor points out the absurdity of anti-gay bias

Myq Kaplan

At a time when some in middle America would still prefer to laugh at gay people than laugh with us, one funny little man decided to speak out about LGBT issues on the 2010 season of the prime-time NBC comedy show, “Last Comic Standing.”

Myq Kaplan, a heterosexual Jewish comic, had America laughing about the absurdity of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

“Prejudice is getting weirder and more confusing,” Kaplan jokes. “It used to be just about keeping people separate — like interracial marriage. People were like, ‘Don’t let them marry us! Only let them marry each other!’ Today with gay people, they’re like, ‘Don’t let them marry each other! Make them marry…..us?’”

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Jews to come together to march in Atlanta Pride parade for first time

Atlanta's Jewish community is coming together the day after Yom Kippur to march for the first time in the Atlanta Pride parade — and will also be treated to a meet-and-greet with pop artist Ari Gold, who will be performing at the fest.

Atlanta Pride is set for Oct. 8-9 in the park with the parade that attracts tens of thousands of people each year on Oct. 9.

For the past 10 years, there has been a Jewish presence at Atlanta Pride, including Rabbi Josh Lesser of the gay and lesbian-founded Congregation Bet Haverim presiding with other clergy at the annual Commitment Ceremony, and the Rainbow Center, a social services program of Jewish Family & Career Services serving LGBT people, having a vendor booth.

This year through the Welcoming Synagogues Project, a national effort to make synagogues more LGBT-friendly to members and new members, large Jewish synagogues The Temple and Temple Sinai along with Bet Haverim are participating in the Pride parade.