‘Apples–out, mushrooms–in'; toward a theology of queer advocacy in the American Jewish community

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Abstract

In Jewish tradition, two holiday plates, the Passover Seder plate and the Rosh Hashanah Seder plate, hold profound significance due to their inclusion of simanim (symbolic foods) which carry deep social, cultural, and spiritual meanings. The blessings construct and express the Jewish tradition as a means of fulfilling the collective wishes and hopes of the Jewish community for survival, continuity and protection. This article delves into an initiative aimed at introducing new symbols onto these ceremonial plates, including various fruits and vegetables, as symbols of inclusion for LGBTQ + individuals within the Jewish tradition. The queer blessings reflect LGBTQ + phobic responses and struggles for public recognition. This innovative effort, widely disseminated through social networks, was conceived and championed by ‘Keshet’, a prominent Jewish organisation dedicated to advancing LGBTQ + inclusion in Jewish life and communities. Thus, I argue that the organisation enacts a theology of queer Jewish advocacy, facilitating the adaptation of religious discourse, rituals and customs to align with contemporary queer lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-179
Number of pages18
JournalPractical Theology
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Jewish holidays
  • Jewish tradition
  • LGBTQ+
  • advocacy
  • community
  • practical theology

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