Celebrating Diversity at Pozez JCC

Pride has many meanings. It is mainly known to be a feeling of satisfaction from one’s achievements, confidence, and self-admiration. But for the month of June, “Pride” takes on an even deeper meaning as we recognize Pride month, a time of celebration of the LGBTQI+ community. This month empowers those who are socially marginalized and sometimes treated differently by those who are ignorant of things they don’t understand. Pride gives members of the LGBTQI+ community and their allies a chance to celebrate their shared identity and experiences that those in majority groups cannot always understand. 

Pride month also gives an opportunity to uplift and rejoice in our differences. Love whomever we love. And share in a joy and celebration of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, nonbinary, intersex, asexual, pansexual – however they identify.  

In my 6 months at the Pozez Jewish Community Center, I’ve found that the staff here work hard to uphold values that honor Pride 365 days a year (or in the case of this year, 366). A few of our core values represent exactly what Pride month serves to honor. Our inclusion statement proclaims that “we live in a diverse community which includes Jews who are religiously affiliated and not; who are young, old, single, parents, intermarried, LGBTQI+, who have had a Jewish connection or not. We seek to be inclusive, to welcome all, to extend our tent and reach out to even more people so that we can bring Jewish vibrancy, connection and community to all Jews in Northern Virginia.” We seek to invite anyone to our community, no matter how they identify or whom they love, and we strive to raise the voices of those in our community who are marginalized. How I see it, at the J it is not “despite who you are or whom you love,” but rather “in celebration of who you are and whom you love. 

I have especially seen this compassion of others in my time with Camp Achva. Not only do we work to make those who identify as LGBTQI+ feel welcome, but we are proud to have them representing our Camp. As a member of the community myself, I was immediately filled with a sense of belonging here. I asked in my interview how Camp supports the LGBTQI+ community and was met with overwhelming enthusiasm in the response. It was clear from the beginning that the queer community was celebrated and welcome in the Camp Achva community. Our younger staff members also consist of many LGBTQI+ members which fills me with a sense of pride in and of itself. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that openly encourages representation of LGBTQI+ culture.  

Before my time at the J, I lived in Philadelphia for a few years which opened me up to a world of new people. In my time there, I frequented the Philly AIDS Thrift’s Drag Bingo at Congregation Rodeph Shalom. This was my first realization of how welcoming the Jewish community is. In fact, it was one of the things that drew me to the J, because I had had a positive experience with another Jewish community’s inclusive programming.  

I’m honored to write about my appreciation for the J’s inclusivity of the LGBTQI+ community. I know that many of my sentiments on the warmth of the J are shared by others, and I hope this message will help people feel empowered to be true to themselves in the Pozez JCC community.  

To support and help grow the J’s inclusive programming, please donate by clicking here.

Share via:

Related Posts