Our upcoming Celebration of Eshel is our version of a B*Mitzah party. We are celebrating all that we have accomplished so far in the past 13 years, and looking forward to our bright future. As we prepare to enter this next stage, we asked some of our friends (including our honorees) to reflect on what Eshel means to them.

Shlomo Ashkinazy:
“Before Eshel my life was very compartmentalized. I was always either the only yarmulka wearing Orthodox Jew within my Gay Workplaces and Social Spaces, or else I was the only openly Gay Person at the Orthodox shuls which I attended. Eshel has made it possible for me to integrate my two main identities in the same place at the same time. Eshel has not only given me a community in which I can feel that I completely belong, it has also given me the opportunity to be of service to other people who are still struggling to reconcile their identities.”

Suzi Fuld:
“Initially, Eshel was there with invaluable and much needed guidance and support. While I had thought of myself as an open-minded, educated, and accepting person of people who were LGBT+, it felt very different when it was my own child. But, truly, it was Eshel who was open and accepting of us, our questions, fears, and doubts. I am confident that I would not have grown and developed as a parent and ally had it not been for Eshel.”

Lenny Fuld:
“Eshel is more than a place that offers comfort and friendship. It’s my North Star. It is a group of people who have offered Suzi and me honest, heartfelt conversations. It’s a place that allows me to see where our Orthodox community can be and should be in the not-too distant future.”

Chavie Weisberger:
“When I came to my first Eshel Shabbaton, it was my first time seeing queer families in the open, fully living as themselves. No one was hiding from each other. It catapulted me to everything that followed. It helped me realize that I wanted this too – to be out, with my children. Eshel was the blueprint for what my life can look like where I can be wholly, fully myself, and raise my children with those same values.”

We hope you’ll join us on June 4 or help support our mission with a donation or tribute as we launch ourselves into the next 13 years!