A Seder For Everyone: The First Stonewall Seder in DC

by Justin Lerner and Yoni Bock

On March 30, GLOE (Kurlander Program for Gay & Lesbian Outreach and Engagement), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the DC GLBT Community Center partnered for the first annual Stonewall Seder in Washington DC.  With a sold out crowd of over 60, Jews and non-Jews of all sexual orientations and gender identities came together to celebrate the universal principles of liberty and freedom.  From several people sharing their personal stories about the closet, AIDS, workplace discrimination and family strife, we were reminded that LGBT people are still routinely denied basic freedoms and rights.

Rebecca Levinn and Sharon Groves washing hands as part of the Seder ritual

The seder’s name commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots in which LGBT people fought back at New York City’s Stonewall Inn against brutal and violent police raids.  This moment in our history was a turning point in which people that did not fit into the mainstream sexual culture stood up and said that they would remain silent no longer.  The seder provided just that experience- an opportunity for everyone to express their opinions, feelings, and voices.

Rabbi Joel Alter leads the Stonewall Seder

While the seder was based on the traditional Jewish rituals, the seder had relevance beyond the Jewish community.  It took a very Jewish model and turned it into a venue for broader issues focused on justice for all people. With the success of this year’s sold out seder, GLOE will be partnering again with HRC and the DC GLBT Community Center for a second annual Stonewall Seder.  And with next year being the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the possibilities for another commemorative and unique experience are endless.

Truly a seder for everyone

CiPa’s Best of DC Names Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater as “Best Theater for a View”

Aaron and Cecile Goldman TheaterOkay, so you know how in the last post I said lists are stupid? I misspoke. What I meant to say was that lists are stupid unless you happen to be on the list.

The first Washington City Paper Best of DC list in nearly twenty-one years has named the 16th Street J’s Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater as the venue with the best view. This is no small honor when you consider the building boom of theaters in the past couple of years–Wooly Mammoth, Studio, Shakespeare, Atlas and Signature all have newer spaces. They all have their merits, but our 236-seat theater which begins on the second floor of the building and ends on the third has a rake that guarantees every seat is a good one.

And while the view in the Goldman is great, what it really provides is the perfect balance of intimacy and fourth wall during performances of Theater J or for that matter during concerts, readings and films. Above and beyond that however, is the superb quality of the art that appears on the stage–the best view in the world is worthless if the art isn’t up to scratch.

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