A Kavanah, An Intention and Thought Piece for Pride Shabbat/Weekend 2023

Sandy Sahar Gooen
2 min readJun 23, 2023

I cannot speak for all Jewish people, nor all trans people, nor all queer people. I can speak to my lived and observed experiences.

I can speak to the fears I have, the hopes and dreams I have, and the love and pain I have witnessed and felt.

“To everything, there is a season,” we hear this in Kohelet. We are meant in this time to be proud, but I’m not exactly sure that pride is the only appropriate feeling for me this year. It’s not that I am ashamed by any means.

I wish I could tell you I was hopeful, like Harvey Milk. Or maybe filled with righteous anger, like Larry Kramer. I wish I were vocal like Leslie Feinberg. I wish I had a love like Edie Windsor. I wish I were brave, but too many people ruined that word for trans people. Many queer people, Jewish and not, have fought so that we can live our lives. Other people, Jewish and not, will continue to tell us that they don’t want to let that happen.

Ultimately, I can work and do what I can to help; I can try to distract and have fun; I can put my heart, my time, my money, and whatever else into the community, even when I feel the community is divided.

…But the main thing I feel during this pride month is alone.

So my kavanah this year is to find even a moment of peace, and I wish everyone the same. When we say Shabbat Shalom, how often do we, regardless of how well we do “shamor v’ zachor,” focus on finding peace? How about a little Shalom bayit for queer people, where we get ourselves together to press on and live to fight another day to exist?

I don’t like having to be brutally honest about all of this. The best of times is objectively not now. But we must rest and regroup to make it there.

I am looking forward to liberation, not just pride.

Good Shabbos, in solidarity.