Grace Long, vice president of KU Queers and Allies, along with Jake Rose, KU sophomore from Overland Park, planned the event. Jay Lewis, KU Hillel’s Executive Director, Neal Schuster, KU Hillel’s Senior Jewish Educator, and Melissa Kingston, KU Hillel’s Program Director also helped to coordinate the dinner.
Rose said that the idea came about when Lewis mentioned that the University of Texas has hosted a similar event. “From my experience with being both gay and Jewish, I know how important it is to feel accepted within a religious community and I wanted to encourage that type of support and behavior on campus.”
Rose said that this Shabbat stood out from others by embracing two communities and breaking down the stereotype that religion and homosexuality cannot coexist.
Stephanie Glassberg, KU senior from Chicago, attended the event. “Being an ally at Rainbow Shabbat, and in general, is more than just knowing people in the LGBTQ community but actually being active and doing something about the issues that everyone faces,” she said. “Creating a safe space where people can talk freely about religion, gender, sexuality and orientation is what made Rainbow Shabbat such a wonderful unity of so many people, from so many different walks of life.”
Looking ahead, Rose plans to host another Rainbow Shabbat in the coming fall semester.
“The event was amazing,” Rose said. “There was good food, great people, and insightful conversations. It couldn’t have gone any better.”