Today: Yiscah Smith in San Francisco

Rabbah Yiscah Smith, a transgender Jewish spiritual activist, author, and educator, will speak today (Monday, August 24) 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco. The event is co-sponsored by A Wider Bridge

YiscahSmith will touch on her experience at the recent attack during Jerusalem Pride and discuss the violence created in the world when people aren’t living their authentic lives, she told the Bay Area Reporter.

She will also read from her book, Forty Years in the Wilderness, My Journey to Authentic Living.

Smith, 64, who has been a spiritual teacher off and on for 40 years, speaks widely throughout Israel and around the world about Jewish spirituality and authentic living.

On July 30, the day of the deadly Pride attack, Smith had just wrapped up her final Torah class of the summer at the Conservative Yeshiva’s 2015 Summer Program, which was taught across the street from Independence Park, the starting point of Jerusalem Pride. The parade was just kicking off when she and several of her students started marching.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there was a sense of euphoria, she told the B.A.R. in an interview on Facebook, but it suddenly turned dark. She didn’t hear any screams, “but suddenly without warning the march abruptly came to a halt, and people started running toward the rear, in the opposite direction,” she said. Then she “heard sirens [and] police on horses and foot making their way to the front [of the parade].”

She thought it was a terror attack, she wrote, but then the parade resumed. As she passed by the scene she saw people who were stabbed lying on the ground while others were being carried to ambulances.

Smith’s first response was concern and hoping the people would be all right. Then the rush of sadness came over her, she said.

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