I heard that someone called HaNefesh the Gay/Lesbian congregation in Orange County. This comment was said to others in hopes of being hurtful to HaNefesh. I want to say to this person, thank you! 

Thank you for recognizing that yes, HaNefesh is a community that welcomes all, encouraging and celebrating everyone for being who they are. Yes, HaNefesh was founded by two lesbians, who are getting married next month. Yes, HaNefesh is made up of people from all backgrounds, different races, born Jewish, converted to Judaism and are tribe dwellers. HaNefesh is proud of each and every person and is grateful for the gifts they share with one another. In three short years, HaNefesh has built a community…a family, who would do anything we can for one another.

This weekend, HaNefesh and Jew By You were thrilled to have a booth at Orange County Pride which was attended by thousands of people who were not just LGBTQ+ but also allies. There were many who approached us and were grateful that we were there; that we shared the message that yes, you can be Jewish, connected to the Jewish community, and be LGBTQ+. That you can be you and have a safe, loving and accepting community…a family that loves you for being you.

So to the person who said that HaNefesh is the Gay/Lesbian congregation in Orange County as a way of hurting us and turning people away from us, thank you! Yes, HaNefesh is a community, a family who loves and accepts each person for who they are. We love being a part of each persons ‘becoming’ the best they can be because we know that each person is created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. Maybe some day all people will see the blessings in one another and share the beauty that each person brings to our world. And may HaNefesh always be a sanctuary for all.