Congregation Bet Haverim is a synagogue that promotes a bold and expansive Jewish identity and culture emphasizing inclusivity, creativity, spirituality and social justice to uphold a commitment to serve the LGBTQ and allied community. Each year CBH has a Pride Seder during the month of June, the anniversary month of the Stonewall Riot.
This year we decided to plan a Pride Art Shabbat, where we made a mural in the style of the Visual Narrative Pastoral Care Model. In the Visual Narrative Pastoral Care Model we tell our stories through images and combine the stories through the combining of the mixed media elements and painting on the large-scale canvas.
We wanted the programming to focus on telling the stories of the Stonewall Riot and the Exodus, each being a moment in time that we look back to as a marker of our collective identities, as Jewish and/or LGBTQ-identified. Combining these two stories that shape our intersectional identities with recounting our own narratives through the use of images draws together the community, while allowing everyone to tell their own story. It's a wonderful model of deepening community ties. The congregation now has a painting on the wall that is a picture of their unity with history, biblical story and each other.
We started this project with an abstract image of a wall of brick and a wall of water. The image of the wall on the canvas represents the Stonewall and the wave of blue represents the wall of water in the parting of the water in the Exodus narrative.Rabbi Josh spoke of the midrash that imagines the Israelites walking through the Sea of Reeds and looking into the water and seeing themselves and all the generations, both past and future. With this in mind we used mixed media images to tell our own stories and find them within the wall and the water.