We spoke to members of the Queer Jewish Collective, a new group offering a space for queer Jews to celebrate both aspects of their identities.
The Queer Jewish Collective (QJC) is a new social group providing a space for LGBTQ+ Jewish people to come together and celebrate their identity. We spoke to members of the group Hannah Salter, Stacie Cohen, and Eve Ginnsberg, to find out what it’s all about.
The group was established back in April and aimed to fill a blank space which the trio felt existed, as Stacie shares: “About nine months prior to us setting up, I was involved in a songwriting group at the Manchester Jewish Museum, and I was totally enjoying that. Then one day Gemma, who ran the song writing group, asked if I would go to their artists’ network. There was going to be a workshop by Homos and Houmous. It was an absolutely fantastic meeting, which Hannah attended as well. For some reason, it really brought together Jewish queer people. I was sat there thinking: ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could use this space more often for Jewish queer people to meet each other?’” The idea was put to Gemma, who proposed it to the management of the museum, and received the go ahead.
Stacie continued: “A couple of days before the first meeting, I bumped into Eve, who I hadn’t seen for a few years, and she was so excited about our new group. At the first meeting, I was absolutely petrified that no one would show up.”
Having the group operate on equal footing was something that became a priority from the get-go as Eve explains:
“On the first meet up, we made it really clear that the group wasn’t going to have a hierarchy. We called it a collective for a reason; and wanted to make sure that everyone was going to be equal and have an equal chance to speak up.”
The collective holds a few events a month, including meetings every six weeks. “We’re still in the early stages of finding our rhythm with it, but at the moment we’re definitely putting on at least two to three events a month, between the regular meeting at Manchester Jewish Museum and other socials around Manchester and the North- West, where we can find an overlap between queer and Jewish identifies, customs, and practices,” says Hannah.
The main aim of the QJC was to give people a space to embrace both aspects of their identity, as Stacie expounds: “It’s about the intersectionality of being both Jewish and queer. Most people when they realise that they’re queer, have to kind of go on a journey with where you’re at with both your queer identity and also your Jewish identity. What we’ve found in the group is that there are a multitude of ages.
We have people ranging from 18 upwards, and they’re all at different stages with their identity, so we have to be very mindful of that. I came out a very long time ago, but even back then it was really important to me that I didn’t lose my Judaism, because people who realise they’re queer, they often just drop their religion so that they can be queer.”
The group have a few events coming up to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, starting with a social in The Gay Village on 14th September. On the 17th September a Rosh Hashanah brunch will be taking place, and on 25th September the group are hoping to hold an event for the breaking of the fast, though this has not yet been confirmed and further details will be available soon.
To get in contact about joining the group, and for further information about future socials QJC can be found on Instagram @queerjco