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Pride Seder marks spiritual side of LGBT liberation

Atlanta’s LGBT Jewish community will celebrate a Pride Seder as part of Stonewall Week. The seder, set for Friday, June 24, is hosted by Congregation Bet Haverim and also sponsored by the Atlanta Pride Committee.

According to Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim, the Pride Seder will celebrate LGBT liberation in the same way that the Jewish faith celebrates Passover. Being Jewish, however, is not a requirement to attend the Pride Seder, Lesser said.

“We want to incorporate a Jewish community service where our allies are invited to attend. We try each year to build a bridge to the larger community,” he said.

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Gay rabbi: Speaking at MLK Commemorative Service was ‘an honor,’ but ‘not easy’

Rabbi Joshua Lesser, who is gay, was among the speakers at today’s televised Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Lesser is a social justice activist and leader of Congregation Bet Haverim, a gay-founded Reconstructionist synagogue in Atlanta. He may be the first openly gay speaker at the Ebenezer service, according to friend Glen Paul Freedman, also a longtime gay activist in Atlanta.

Lesser gave a scriptural reading from the Biblical book of Isaiah.

"It’s a passage that basically says religious or political practice without embodying it is meaningless," Lesser said in an interview this afternoon. "More than ritual, what God wants is challenging oppression, not exploiting other people, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and standing for justice."

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Gay rabbi joins televised MLK Commemorative Service in Atlanta

Rabbi Joshua Lesser, who is gay, was among the speakers at today’s televised Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Lesser is a social justice activist and leader of Congregation Bet Haverim, a gay-founded Reconstructionist synagogue in Atlanta. He may be the first openly gay speaker at the Ebenezer service, according to friend Glen Paul Freedman, also a longtime gay activist in Atlanta.

This year marks 25 years of the King Day national holiday. Ebenezer Baptist Church was King’s congregation, and the annual commemorative service routinely draws national and state political leaders.