LGBT Jews and their friends will have plenty to do in Miami Saturday as Temple Israel of Greater Miami hosts a unique evening of Havdalah, Dinner, and “LGBT Jewish Speed-Learning” with Jay Michaelson and Friends. The event is sponsored by Ru’ach, Temple Israel’s LGBT havurah (fellowship group) and by Nehirim, a group devoted to building community for LGBT Jews and their partners and allies. Jay Michaelson, founding director of Nehirim and the author of the bestseller God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon Press) will be the featured speaker.
This “fascinating, fabulous, and fun evening of Jewish learning, spirituality and food” begins at 6:30 p.m. with a short Havdalah service to formally close the Sabbath. This is followed by a festive Melaveh Malkah, Saturday night dinner. From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., participants will do an hour of interactive “speed-learning” on queer Jewish texts. “We will be learning several texts about LGBT Jewish issues in traditional chevruta, or partnership style,” says Michaelson. “Over the course of the hour, participants will switch partners three or four times to experience learning with multiple people.”
Learning leads into poetry at 9 p.m., as the Rucah/Nehirim evening gives way to [email protected]’s CHAIku program of queer Jewish poetry. [email protected], located at Temple Israel, is an artistic and cultural group devoted to the goal of “moving Jewish culture forward.” At CHAIku, Michaelson and friends will read their poems, including but not limited to Jew-y haiku. Michaelson himself promises to deliver “ecstatic, energetic poetry shouted and declaimed to drums and accompaniment. No haiku.” Guests are welcome to share their own poetry and refreshments are available “to spark inspiration and to relieve cotton mouth.”