A cross-denominational group of transgender Jews in London have led a Friday night Shabbat service to mark Trans Day of Remembrance, the first event of its kind to take place in a British synagogue.
The historic online service hosted by Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue commemorated transgender victims of murder and reflected on the resilience of transgender people in the face of trauma.
The service was led by Jews who identify as trans, meaning their gender does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
In addition to the traditional Kabbalat Shabbat prayers, leaders read poems written for the occasion by rabbis and invited attendees to light a candle in remembrance.
Luke Levine, one of the leaders of the service, said: “When I first came out at 17, I didn’t know how being transgender would affect my relationship with Judaism. I am very grateful that through the Jewish LGBT charity Keshet UK and other parts of the community I feel that I have found my place.
“This really showed in the Trans Day of Remembrance service when I felt a love and bond between the Jewish and transgender communities, something that I had never expected to feel.”
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, who co-hosted the service, said: “It was a moving evening to be a part of, and one which allowed many individuals who have felt marginalised from the Jewish community the opportunity to welcome Shabbat, and to hold the memory of lives lost to violence against the transgender community.”
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