They’ve Had Our Back

Last year at about this time, I wrote about how, if the love and respect many of us have that informs our support of our friends in the LGBTQ+ community didn’t immediately resonate, that support could also be seen through another prism, of Jewish values espoused by Rabbi Akiva explaining the words of Hillel the Elder - what is hateful to you, do not do unto others. You can read that message HERE.

Today, I wanted to add some thoughts to what I wrote last June.

As I’ve written about in the past several months, we at Federation and many other Jewish organizations as well as individuals, have learned that there are groups - in civil society and elsewhere -that we saw as friends and allies, who were not there for us on and after October 7th, who parrotted the bigoted rhetoric being yelled in the streets and on campus, and who were silent in the face of atrocity. At Federation, we developed a policy to guide our interactions based on how the concerns and expectations of the Jewish community here in Rockland were being met.

I’m glad to say that since then we have had opportunities with some of these groups to share what our community is experiencing, to listen to more supportive statements, and to hear that language and tropes we see as unacceptable were understood to be so, and future communications would reflect that.

One group within Rockland’s robust civil society ecosystem that from the outset stood with our Jewish community against hate and antisemitism, against silence on the use of sexual violence against Israeli women, and with Israel’s right to responsibly defend itself, has been the LGBTQ+ community - specifically the Phyllis B. Frank Pride Center of Rockland County in Nyack. This solidarity has come at a social and organizational cost, and we appreciate their allyship even more so.

So circling back to where I started; Whether you come to it out of unfettered love and respect; or you come to it from a place of treating others how you expect to be treated; or you come to it from working together to confront common adversaries; or you recognize the value and sacrifice of allies - when you have few of them - and their stance with you is right but has repercussions; now is the right time to stand with our friends and allies in Rockland’s LGBTQ+ community. Wishing our friend Brooke Malloy and the Phyllis B. Frank Pride Center of Rockland County a successful Pride Month!