Mardi Gras ‘the biggest ever’

Kim Gotlieb (second from right) with members of Dayenu at the Mardi Gras Fair Day held in February.

SYDNEY’S Jewish LGBT+ group, Dayenu, has a float full of flair, friendship and love ready to come out of the workshop and roll into the limelight at this weekend’s Mardi Gras parade.

In celebration of marriage equality in Australia and the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras, it’s bound to be a big bash – in fact, “the biggest ever” – according to Kim Gotlieb, president of Dayenu.

“Saturday night sees the culmination of much work put into creating the Dayenu float,” commented Gotlieb. “Coordinated by David Skapinker, Matt Blatt are the major sponsor for this year’s entry which is themed to highlight Jewish icons who have supported the LGBT+ communities – namely, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Fran Drescher (from The Nanny) who will all be represented, together with a decorated Star of David.”

Skapinker added that t-shirts are being made for those marching, which read, “Mazel Tov on your 40th”.

“I don’t think you can get more Jewish than that!” he said. “We’ve got them in different colours to mimic the rainbow.”
But while rainbow flags will be waving triumphantly, a complex host of issues rain on the parade.

Gotlieb remarked, “We cannot fully celebrate, without taking a moment to notice many issues which remain painful for LGBT+ folk in our midst,” referring to self-harm, suicidal ideation, loneliness and isolation, addiction, relationship challenges, among other issues, that affect the community. These are concerns which, he says, “are present within the broader community, but amplified through the lens of homophobia”.

In the lead up to this Saturday’s parade of gay pride, Dayenu has been a hive of activity during the Mardi Gras Festival in Sydney, which spans from Fair Day on February 16 through to the massive Oxford Street parade.

During this period, “Sydney comes alive with plays, films, concerts, performance, art exhibitions, talks and forums which showcase and explore an array of issues which relate to gender diversity and sexual orientation,” commented Gotlieb.

Tonight (Friday), Dayenu in association with Emanuel Synagogue will host the Mardi Gras Shabbat service and communal dinner led by Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins. All members of the community are encouraged to attend.

Reflecting on the great success of Dayenu’s stall at Fair Day, Gotlieb commented that the event presented “an opportunity to connect with Jewish LGBT+ folk who, for too many reasons, have fallen away from their religious affiliations”.

The Shabbat service and dinner will be held at Emanuel Synagogue at 6.15pm.

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