JFSA Pride reception to celebrate first anniversary of marriage equality decision

JFSA Pride, a program of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, will hold a celebration of the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality on Sunday, June 26, 7-9 p.m. in the Jewish History Museum’s Einstein-Sim Memorial Garden.

“It’s going to be a very simple reception and celebration,” says Thomas Sayler-Brown, who is chair of the event. “It’s less about the actual marriage equality decision than it is about the love that binds us together, which is now legally recognized thanks to the decision.”

Rabbi Helen Cohn of Congregation M’kor Hayim will say a blessing for gay and lesbian couples whose marriages have been recognized by the ruling, says Sayler-Brown. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will read a proclamation establishing the day as Marriage Equality Day.

A guitar player will provide background music, says Sayler-Brown, and the event will include light hors d’oeuvres, wine and water.

“It’s a momentous occasion,” says Sayler-Brown. “For me, it has become one of the regular holidays on my office calendar. To me, it’s that important a day.”

“And I think it is something we will celebrate from now on,” says Ann Markewitz, chair of the JFSA Pride steering committee. “It will grow.”

She notes that the event is “for all folks who support the LGBT Jewish community.”

Bryan Davis, executive director of the Jewish History Museum, “has really embraced this [celebration] and he sees this as the first of many,” says Sayler-Brown.

The event is also a way to kickoff JFSA Pride’s new programming, such as a social action project to help homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, which will begin in the fall in collaboration with Our Family Services.

“We’ve been rethinking our mission and purpose” over the past year, since the JFSA LGBT Jewish Inclusion Project became JFSA Pride, explains Markewitz. Eleven years ago, when the Federation started the group, Jewish inclusion was a pressing issue; today, with that goal largely accomplished, JFSA Pride “is alive and well and growing,” says Markewitz.

RSVPs for the June 26 event are requested by June 20 to jscott@jfsa.org. A $5 donation is suggested.