June is Pride Month, a time for celebrating the achievements of LGBTQ+ individuals and for speaking out against homophobia and transphobia. We at Kolbo join in celebrating Pride Month and ensuring a warm and welcoming environment at our store each and every month throughout the year. As we seek to support our LGBTQ+ loved ones and the community at large, we turn to wisdom and guidance from Hillel. He tells us:
“.מַרְבֶּה יְשִׁיבָה, מַרְבֶּה חָכְמָה. מַרְבֶּה עֵצָה, מַרְבֶּה תְבוּנָה. מַרְבֶּה צְדָקָה, מַרְבֶּה שָׁלוֹם”
“The more studying, the more wisdom. The more counsel, the more understanding. The more charity, the more peace.”
-Pirkei Avot 2:7
“The more studying, the more wisdom.”
The Hebrew word that Hillel uses here is yeshiva, meaning “study,” the literal translation of which is “sitting.” The duality of this word is important. As allies, when we seek to gain wisdom, it is important that we study intensely and voraciously.
It is also important that we “sit” in our study, listening respectfully with an open mind and heart to the voices of those with whom we wish to be allies, about their gender and their orientation. This provides a true opportunity to learn.
“The more counsel, the more understanding.”
During Pride Month and beyond, we can take the time to remind ourselves that centering marginalized communities is essential to tikkun olam. Everyone has their own struggles and experiences which provide insight. However, not all struggles are the same. We need to seek counsel from those who are marginalized so that we can we better understand their struggles and learn how best to help and support them.
Guided by those within the LGBTQ+ community, it is the sacred charge of Jewish allies to uplift and center their voices and take action, so that they may lead the way toward greater understanding and inclusivity.
“The more charity, the more peace.”
As we take the time and energy to raise LGBTQ+ voices this Pride Month, it is important to show support through both words and actions. We understand that LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those of color, are disproportionately impacted by housing instability, food insecurity, harassment and other forms of injustice. Nonprofits and community organizers focus their efforts every day on combating these injustices and deserve our volunteer and financial support. Keshet is a national nonprofit with Boston roots that supports LGBTQ+ families, fights for their civil rights, provides relevant Jewish resources and hosts community activities. It is with your donation of money or time that these organizations are able to bring peace and justice to the communities they serve.
As we celebrate Pride Month, we join you in important efforts to sit and study, seek counsel and gain wisdom, be charitable and spread peace.