A few nights ago, I was hopping in a Lyft Line to head home after meeting some friends for drinks. As I slid into the backseat, the other passenger stared at me. “You’re Caroline!” she said, smiling. “I’m coming to LGBTQIA Shabbat; we’ve talked on Facebook.” And just like that, a serendipitous connection was made. What are the chances that both of us would be in this same Lyft, after having briefly connected online? It turns out it’s not so far-fetched—ever since I began exploring the idea of hosting a queer Shabbat dinner, I seem to meet queer Jews everywhere, many of whom are craving connection to the Jewish community in Boston.

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LGBTQIA Shabbat, brought to you by Riverway Project, will take place on Feb. 2 at Temple Israel of Boston. Shabbat is the perfect time to gather with community, and I believe it is up to each of us to create the kinds of communities we want to be part of. As an extrovert, and someone who works in the Jewish professional world, I found that by attending many Jewish young adult events around Boston, I already knew a lot of LGBTQIA Jews—but they didn’t necessarily know each other. As I started to keep track of who I knew and met more and more people, I realized that bringing together this group could be so much fun, and a great way to gather a different crowd who might also be looking to meet new people who fall on the LGBTQIA spectrum.

Knowing that I couldn’t host a large event in my small apartment, I reached out to Rabbi Gubitz at Riverway Project to see if there might be a possibility of collaboration. Almost immediately after pitching the idea through email, I heard back with a resounding, “Yes, absolutely. Let’s do it.” I asked my friend Molly to co-host, and together we brainstormed what this type of event (and hopefully, community!) could look like. We were intentional with our language in the marketing in order to be as inclusive as possible (although I did find out that writing “LGBTQIA” on Facebook gets you flagged for “excessive capitalization”), and we put thought into what steps we could take to encourage genuine connection over Shabbat dinner.

At the end of the day, a Jewish community should always be a place where everyone can bring their whole self to the table—which is why intersectional spaces like this are so critical. While there are many incredible opportunities in Boston for young adults to get involved with Jewish life, communities that are both intentionally queer and Jewish can be especially empowering for many young adults. It is an important and exciting moment in the Boston Jewish community that this event is happening, and we hope you’ll join us next week!

Reserve your seat here!

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