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Atlanta gay rabbi appointed to city Human Relations Commission

Congregation Bet Haverim’s Rabbi Josh Lesser has been appointed to the City of Atlanta’s Human Relations Commission.

A leading figure in the Atlanta LGBT community, Lesser has served as rabbi at Congregation Bet Haverim since 1999. He was appointed by District 2 City Councilmember Kwanza Hall.

“When Councilman Hall was looking for new members, I was approached by Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner,” says Lesser. “I have a long-standing connection with the city’s LGBT community and she thought I would be a good fit.”

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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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Atlanta’s Joshua Lesser named one of America’s ‘most inspiring’ rabbis

Rabbi Joshua Lesser

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:

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Gay rabbi leads State of the City invocation

Rabbi Joshua Lesser

Openly gay Rabbi Joshua Lesser from Congregation Bet Haverim delivered the invocation at Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's State of the City speech this morning at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Gay politicos praised Lesser this morning after he delivered the invocation.

Joan Garner, a lesbian member of the Fulton County Commission, posted “Rabbi, what inspiring words this morning at the State of the City Breakfast. Thank you!” to Lesser's Facebook page earlier this morning.

Openly gay Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan sent out a Tweet during Lesser's invocation with a photo of the rabbi addressing the crowd. “Go Josh!” the Tweet read.

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Jewish contingency out and proud at Atlanta Pride

Atlanta’s Jewish community is coming together the day after Yom Kippur to march for the first time in the Atlanta Pride parade on Sunday, Oct. 9. Typically, the day after Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement that...
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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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Religion blog: To tell and kiss?

I once imagined writing a queer dating guide that fused identity, politics, common courtesy, ethics, spirituality and sexuality. But back on planet Earth, I fear that just by bringing those lenses to such a project, it would bomb. Certainly, a friend or two would point out that by that very description I manage to squeeze fun out of dating. I would retort that there's no fun in dating. And then I would sadly shake my head and agree this might not be my best project. Perhaps, I could pen a dating guide that was for people who are too intense.

Navigating dating is often a labyrinth of unexpressed expectations, conscious and unconscious fantasies and biases, complicated neuroses, hidden rules mixed with some pheremonal chemistry and then add specific LGBTQQI issues into the mix! And all of that starts with you, so imagine what happens when another person is involved!