Spring is the season of new initiatives, and the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) are ramping up their efforts to kick off the new decade. Shana Jacobs, director of engagement and Jewish learning, and her team at JCC Denver are setting intentions to increase their LGBTQ initiatives throughout the year.
Their goal is to have more inclusive events that will encourage participation from families, individuals, couples, and anyone who is seeking out an engaging community. JCC Denver serves the metro-Denver area through educational, social, cultural, and fitness- and sports-based programs that are rooted in Jewish values, although they are welcoming of all backgrounds.
Last weekend marked the inaugural Drag Royalty Purim Bingo event, hosted by JCC Denver, and was open to the public. The night included dinner, bingo, some of Denver’s top drag performers, and a costume contest for all participants. The bingo night and other events are all part of a larger maneuver towards creating a grassroots effort targeting inclusion and community involvement.
The night was scheduled in accordance with the Jewish holiday Purim, which takes place over March 9 and 10. Purim is a celebration of salvation from the Persian Empire, where a plot had been devised to commit genocide against the Jewish people during the 4th century BCE.
Following the bingo charade, JCC Denver has a flux of events for the month of March into April and through May. There is a detailed calendar of all events and weekly activities that the JCC sponsors on their website. Besides the bingo night, the JCC Denver has always proudly supported LGBTQ causes and been involved with coordinating support on a large scale. The center has a 15-person committee representing at least five different organizations who are all trying to find a partner to serve the LGBTQ community.
In past years, the JCC has had a booth during the pride parade, but this year they are stepping up their involvement. They will be coordinating a pride Shabbat during the weekend of pride fest. In Jewish culture, Shabbat is the seventh day of the week, set aside for rest and reflection. In this case, the Shabbat will be a way to kick off the weekend before the big pride parade on Sunday. JCC Denver will be partnering with Jewish Colorado to make the Shabbat a fun family evening, and the next day, the entire Jewish community will be marching alongside the rest of the city.
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The JCC has plans to hold open forums so that people can request specific events and programs because they want to hear your ideas and adhere to them to the best of their ability. Overall, JCC Denver continually commit themselves to serving the public by seeking out and providing resources, establishing unique spaces for like-minded people to congregate, listening to the wants and needs of the surrounding community, and welcoming to individuals from all walks of life.