As we begin the year 5777, let us commit to putting greater inclusion, equality, and acceptance of all God’s children front and center.
For the Jewish community, Yom Kippur is a moment for renewal, an invitation to step forward without the weight of our transgressions following behind. This Day of Atonement challenges us to own our mistakes, acknowledging where we have fallen short in the past year and asking God for the chance to improve in the coming one. The evaluation and reimagining of oneself requires enormous personal strength, and it is therefore quite suitable that in 2016, Yom Kippur will be joined by another moment about renewal: National Coming Out Day.
Coming out is often one of the most challenging, terrifying, and life-altering experiences an LGBTQ person faces in their lifetime. Regardless of whether the process is one of pain or ease, to come out is to surrender the privilege of a heterosexual life, and for many people, that is not only difficult – it’s impossible.
On Yom Kippur, we read a passage from the book of Deuteronomy that involves choice. The Israelites are told that in order to enter the sacred land, they must keep God’s commandments and abandon all sin. If they choose to walk in God’s light, they will be blessed in the land of Israel which they are about to enter, but if they do not, they will surely perish.
“See, I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity” (Deuteronomy 30:15).