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Gay Games thoughts

On Monday August 11 I will be speaking at the Gay Games in Cleveland at the Interfaith Service at Trinity Cathedral.  I hope some of you out there will be able to join with us in celebration of the athletes and competitors from around the world who will gather to enjoy a week of sporting events, community events, friendship events and more.  

Here is my press statement on the Gay Games:

The Gay Games is a world-wide gathering of people that celebrates the heart, mind, body and soul of the individual in sports.  Whether through individual competition or team endeavors, the Gay Games is an opportunity to celebrate the total person.  As a rabbi and person of faith, I know that  human beings need outlets for joy, celebration, competition, friendship, hope and triumph.  The Gay Games gives gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies an opportunity to pursue sound minds, bodies and spirit in a friendly competition while meeting and making friends from all over our earth. 

As a rabbi,  the Torah teaches that we human beings are created in the image of God, Btzelem Elohim,  and that includes gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, too.  God doesn’t have one mold.  Each of us gay and straight alike contributes to the wonderful fabric of human diversity.  The Gay Games celebrates that divinely molded diversity.

With so much of the world today in deep pain and warfare, it is good to come to Cleveland and celebrate health, and fitness, cooperation, and friendly competition.  It is good to a direct our energies toward healing and hope rather than hatred and violence.  It is good and fun to celebrate the summer with new and old friends from all the many participating communities.  This is how friendships are built.  This is how peace is made on the playing field; not the battlefield.

The pursuit of a sport can be a spiritual experience.  Like our faith it provides a discipline of practice and focus.  And coupled with faith in the Creator of All Goodness, our energy and our abilities soar.  It is my fervent prayer that blessings abound at these games and the spirit of kindness, the fierceness of competition, the joy of winning, the ethics of sportsmanship, the exuberance of freedom and celebration of hope fill every heart and soul.

Rabbi Denise L. Eger is the founding Rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood’s Reform Synagogue and the President Elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.