A group of thirty New Yorkers are set to depart for Jerusalem this weekend to attend WorldPride, a historic gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from around the globe.
Jerusalem WorldPride will be an international gathering of LGBT pride and human rights this month.
Thousands of activists and organisers from around the globe will converge in Jerusalem for a week of discussion, camaraderie and community.
Organisers hope WorldPride will bring a new focus to an ancient city through a demonstration of LGBT dignity, pride, and boundary-crossing dialogue.
Notable New Yorkers who will be attending WorldPride include Reverend Pat Bumgardner, senior pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of New York, Bishop Zachary Jones of Unity Fellowship Church of Brooklyn, and Rabbi Steve Greenberg of CLAL, the National Jewish Centre for Learning and Leadership.
“I’ve been looking forward to arriving in Jerusalem for WorldPride for a long time,” said Eric Rosenbaum, president of the Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST) Board of Directors. “This trip is meaningful to me for both spiritual and political reasons,” he continued.
“I will be attending WorldPride with my late mother’s partner, Liz Gray. We both eagerly anticipate the dialogue, community and hope that will be created by bringing together LGBT and allied people from around the world to the Holy City.”
Ms Gray will travel to WorldPride as part of the San Francisco contingent.
Major events will include a Multifaith LGBT Clergy Conference, Human Rights Day, LGBT Health Day, International LGBT Youth conference, LGBT Film Festival, and the Keshet Gaava annual conference. In addition, broad cultural programming will occur throughout the week.
CBST is New York City’s synagogue for the New York metropolitan area’s 200,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews, as well as families and friends. Founded in 1973, and under the leadership of Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum since 1992, CBST has become one of the largest LGBT synagogues in the world.
Last week, the organisers of the event, Jerusalem Open House (JOH), announced that the WorldPride rally will no longer take place due to the demands it would be making on security which is currently caught up in escalating tension in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
A JOH statement said: “This is not the time for celebrations.
“The parade, which requires extensive security, will not take place due to the situation.”
Conferences and other events are still scheduled to go ahead.