“Mishkan Ga’avah: Where Pride Dwells” edited by Denise L. Eger— A Resource and an Affirmation

Eger, Denise L. (editor). “Mishkan Ga’avah: Where Pride Dwells”, CCAR Press, 2020.

A Resource and an Affirmation

Amos Lassen

Rabbi Denise Eger brings us a  collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy, and rituals that affirm Jewish diversity and are resources that give “voice to the private and public sectors of queer Jewish experience”. “Mishkan Ga’avah” (“Where Pride Dwells” is published as a commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of both the Stonewall Riots and the first pride march and what we have here is evident to the advocacy of the Reform Movement for full LGBTQ inclusion.

On one hand, I am really glad to see this book but on the other hand, I feel a bit bad that we need it. As an openly gay man, I have felt included in my religion and am able to participate fully in all aspects of Judaism. Of course, this has not always been the case but Judaism has come a long way over the years and while as a young person I did not feel part of the Jewish community, today it is the center of my world. I well remember the exclusion I felt growing up as an Orthodox Jew. After returning to the United States after many years in Israel where I was a Jew in name only, I joined a reform table and that was that. My sexuality was never an issue.

This is quite a beautiful book and I suppose it is necessary for those who have not found their places in Judaism and it is certainly a welcome addition to the Jewish/LGBTQ canon. Rabbi Eger and other contributors open the traditions of the religion and give new meanings to much of what is our religion.

We are living at a time when many are reclaiming the spirituality that was left behind and included here are “our own stories, prayers, and liturgies” that are “reframing of the religious language of inclusion.” What we have here is not just for the LGBTQ community but for everyone. Anyone of any religion who has struggled or is struggling with feeling spiritual will find something here to make that struggle easier.

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