Elul 5 5776
My brother - have I told you yet you are my hero?
When we first met in a room full of LGBTIQ faith leaders at a global interfaith conference exploring our common cause and concern for more human rights and dignity, I didn’t quite know what to make of you: Big diva with big rasta hair and big confident smile - yet something seemed broken.
Only when I heard your story a few nights later, over drinks, I got to go beyond my own biases and see a glimpse of who and what you are: How you built the House of Rainbow and then had to flee Nigeria for your life, how much sorrow and despair you’ve witnessed among family and friends who turned their backs on your and your mission. I understood the sadness behind the smile.
You are my hero because you’ve taught me how to stand up for your rights, for our rights, for the love of all that’s sacred, with rage and humor and fierceness that I need, we need, as so many all round us are choosing to focus on what divides us instead of what unites. You are my hero because you risked your life for love on multiple occasions, including just a few weeks ago in Uganda.
What cause would I risk my life for, I wonder.
On this day, the fifth of 40 days on the journey to alignment we sit together once again at a similar gathering, along with queer clergy, activists and politicians from all over the world, asking big questions about the global need for one simple shared truth: We are all part of the same rainbow, equally valued and responsible for the sacred spark within us all. I’m proud to be here by your side and grateful for your leadership and friendship. In my tradition we take advantage of these 40 holy days to make sure we leave no stone unturned in our quest for gratitude, honest reflection, and love of self and others.
Be safe, proud, fabulous and fearless.
PREPENT: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s annual journey to the new year, with 40 ways in 40 days to reflect, refocus, recharge and restart life. This year features daily love letters inspired by Lab/Shul’s theme for the High Holy Days, “וְאָהַבְתָּ re:love.”