Shabbat Dinner and Kabbalat Service at 2019 Philly Conference
The 2019 Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference will once again include Shabbat Dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday, July 26, 2019, beginning with dinner at 5:45pm and the service at 7pm.
The first Shabbat service at the conference was held in a small room at the convention center after hours in 2009. Organized collaboratively by Shelley Rosenberg, Chris Paige, and Rabbi Levi Alter, that first event included a little more than a dozen people in the inaugural year of the spirituality track.
"I remember this one trans guy in the Shabbat service saying he hadn't been connected to Jewish community for years before that," recalls Paige. "It meant so much to him to reconnect -- and to all of us."
After several years in the basement of Arch Street United Methodist Church, where Rosenberg began orchestrating a vegetarian and kosher dinner before the service, the event moved to the John C. Anderson apartments (251 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107) in 2015.
The dinner/service retains that sense of open invitation for trans folk and allies to connect or reconnect with tradition and/or community regardless of where they are coming from. Many attendees meet up at the Convention Center and walk over together. A $7-12 per person donation is suggested to cover costs of the food, but no one will be turned away.
Please RSVP so we can plan for enough food.
Jewish Family and Children's Services (JFCS), based in Philadephia, became a key sponsor of the project in 2014, at Rosenberg's invitation.
“Shabbat is a unifying experience in the Jewish tradition – to participate in a trans-affirming religious experience, surrounded by LGBTQIA folks from around the world, is uplifting, validating, and spiritually meaningful.” says Galia Godel who now serves as LGBTQIA program manager at JFCS. “Jewish or Jewish-curious, all who are interested in joining in fellowship over a meal and service are welcome.”
This year's D'var Torah will be offered by Koach Baruch Frazier (also known as K.B.) from St Louis, MO (and currently a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College near Philadelphia). Past services have been led by transgender Jewish leaders, such as Enzi Tanner, Emily Aviva Kapor, Leiah Mosier, Levi Alter, Joy Ladin, Abby Stein, Mycroft Masada, and Rafi Daugherty.
If you would like to co-facilitate the service, please join Randy Furash at 4:30pm. There will be a workshop on leading Jewish prayer, which will also be held at the Anderson Apartments. No experience necessary.
"Shabbat at PTWC is a wonderful, rare opportunity to experience worship and community in a context that centers the rightness of our trans lives and trans bodies as reflections of the Divine," says Tynan Power, a Muslim activist who often attends with his Jewish partner.
This year Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, J.Proud, and Jewish Family & Children’s Service, and Transfaith are providing sponsorship. Other collaborators in the past have included the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Keshet, Spectrum, and some local congregations.
If you or your organization would like to become a sponsor, please contact Galia Godel.
More on PTWC: Vigil and Pray including Seudah Slishit ("third meal" of Shabbat) on Saturday evening