RALEIGH, N.C. — Drawing criticism from Jewish LGBTQ people and allies, NC Pride scheduled its Pride Parade on Sept. 30. This date conflicts with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Judaism. Many groups and Jewish individuals who normally participate in the parade and festival will not attend as a result.

Yom Kippur translates to “the Day of Atonement.” The observance consists of day-long fasting, from sundown to sundown. There are also extended services at local synagogues and places of worship. These practices are meant to redirect concentration from the physical body towards spiritual needs. Yom Kippur is a time to connect with God, make atonement for one’s own and  the community’s sins, and forgive offenses against oneself.

The Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill CEO Jill Madsen was one prominent critic. Madsen’s organization has participated in NC Pride events for several years — with more than 100 marchers in last year’s parade — but will not be attending the 2017 event on their spiritual holy day.

“We’re just disappointed,” Madsen told the News & Observer“We’ve had a large group present the last couple of years, both a booth and a float in the parade. And this year we will not be able to do that.”

A comparable conflict occurred in 1965, when a Jewish pitcher for the Dodgers, Sandy Koufax, refused to play in the first game of the World Series because the game occurred on Yom Kippur.

“Koufax inspired a generation of Jewish players that came after him,” writes the Atlantic‘s Alan Siegal. “Koufax’s famous decision occurred in 1965, barely two decades after the liberation of the concentration camps.”

This year, like Koufax, Jewish LGBTQ people and allies may have to sit out of another event. Their celebration of Pride will go unmarked, unless the event’s organizers make a big change.

“I am proud to be part of a Jewish community that promotes and embraces inclusion,” writes Carrboro resident Peter Reitsez. “I look forward to taking my children to pride celebrations and I expect to be included, not excluded, from Pride events.”

NC Pride, a weekend-long event, notes on its web page that organizers are currently working on a solution to the conflict, and promises updates as they become available.

“We feel the need to recognize this year’s conflict to our Jewish friends,” NC Pride’s apology statement read. “Ask for their forgiveness and look forward to their participation in our event in future years.

Krisha Miller, who organizes the Jewish LGBTQ group, Kol Koloteinu (“All Our Voices”), had a suggestion:

“Why not culminate in a big festival and parade Sunday afternoon?”

3 replies on “NC Pride apologizes to Jewish groups”

  1. It should be easy enough to do a little rescheduling. There’s no historic reason for Pride on that date, so just move it a bit. What’s the big deal? Or is there some suspicion that someone did this…… ON PURPOSE? (insert organ sting here)

  2. Why apologizing? Pride is not something that is depending on national festivities especially not those that commemorate wars! Pride is to commemorate the Gay War Against Inequality!
    Somewhere in the world Pride will be conflicting with a national day of whatever, Yom Kippur is a national day in Israel, not in the USA or anywhere else!
    When Jewish Gay People want to celebate Yom Kippur over Pride, their choice!
    Priorities is making choices, about choices!

  3. “Why not have it on Sunday?”
    Well, because all of the permits, rentals, and police arrangements for the space have long been set. How easy does this person think it is to change something like that at this stage?

    My question is, when was this first noticed and brought to their attention? June is too late to fix it, but surely someone noticed before now?

    And no, it wasn’t done on purpose. It’s always been the last Sat in September. It was a very unfortunate oversight, but not an anti-Semitic conspiracy

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