Jewish Community Center to host public forum on marriage

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On Thursday, September 14, the Gordon Jewish Community Center (GJCC) will host a panel discussion regarding the constitutional amendment that will be on this November’s ballot. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Hadassah, the largest women’s, largest Zionist, and largest

Jewish membership organization in the US, along with the National Council of Jewish Women, a volunteer organization, and the Tennessee Equality Project, the panel hopes to discuss the ramifications of a constitutional amendment.

Local activist Renee Kasman, who contacted the local affiliate of Hadassah first, has largely organized the event to see if any organization in the local Jewish community would support an event like this.

“I called Hassadah and they jumped on it,” Kasman said, clearly still surprised that the response was so immediate and so favorable. “It’s an opportunity for this community, and the larger public, to debate the amendment before the election.”

Founded in 1912, Hadassah is American Judaism’s largest women’s group, numbering some 300,000 in membership. Earlier this year, from the New York based headquarters of the organization, a resolution passed overwhelmingly that “strongly opposes efforts at the federal and state level that would selectively limit or deny civil rights to same-sex couples and their families.”

With this resolution in mind, Kasman approached the local affiliate; entirely unsure of what response she’d receive in light of a proposed marriage amendment here in Tennessee. “There is some disagreement within Hassadah,” said Kasman, “but everyone I’ve spoken with just loves the idea. And the Jewish community center is very open and welcoming.”

Local attorney and GJCC member Norman Solomon will lead the interactive forum. Panelists include TEP President Chris Sanders, GLBT attorney/activist Abby Rubenfeld, Rabbi Alexis Burk of The Temple Ohabai Sholom, the director of advocacy for Hadassah National Shelly Klein, and Gene Floyd, a member of PFLAG.

In addition, chef Elaine Taubin and her partner Mary Cornelius, of the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza, plan to donate light food and refreshments. The Gordon Jewish Community Center is located at 801 Percy Warner Blvd in Nashville (www.nashvillejcc.org). The event is free and open to the public.