When religious leaders come out in support of their queer brethren it is always encouraging, which is why it’s so fabulous local rabbis are once again holding the Mardi Gras Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner this week.

For the last five years Temple Emanuel Woollahra has held the special dinner and service to celebrate Sydney’s Jewish gay and lesbian community. This year it will be on Friday 3 March to mark the Sabbath.

The event usually involves the rabbi making a speech about tolerance and acceptance in the community, plus there’s a kosher meal and some sort of gay-ish element such as a drag show, according to Malcolm Davidowitz from Jewish gay and lesbian social group Dayenu.

The dinner tends to attract around 100 gay men and lesbians plus their family and friends. This year’s service is expected to sell out.

The general community is very accepting of the Jewish gay and lesbian community, Davidowitz said.

Of course the orthodox rabbis are not accepting. But there are progressive rabbis who are and have been fantastic in supporting us.

Davidowitz said there were rabbis who had happily done conversions for Jewish guys and their gentile boyfriends, and they once converted one of his former boyfriends.

Dayenu won’t have a float in the parade this year for the first time in six years, Davidowitz said, as most of the float organisers are overseas. However, a gay and lesbian Jewish group from Melbourne will be participating.

Temple Emanuel is at 7 Ocean St, Woollahra. The Mardi Gras Shabbat service starts at 6:30pm on Friday 3 March, with dinner at 7:30pm. The cost is $35 or $30 for NMG members or concession. Book on 9328 7833. Details at the Dayenu website.

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