From 23-29 October the first ever JDC/Entwine Inside Argentina and Uruguay trip for Jewish LGBTIQA Leaders took place.
Jacqui Benson was the only South African, and indeed, African, with the rest of the group hailing from the USA, Canada, Israel and the UK. Together the group explored Montevideo and Buenos Aires through the lens of Jewish life in these two progressive (marriage for same-sex couples is legal in both countries) Latin American countries.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC or the ‘Joint’) is the biggest Jewish humanitarian organisation in the world, operating in 70+ countries. Projects support disaster relief, combating hunger and financial hardship, building self-sustaining Jewish communities and rescuing Jews in turmoil and more.
Its Entwine initiative offers diverse programmes, often in conjunction with partner organisations, as in our case with JQ International and Eighteen:22, to bring graduates and young professionals on trips to inspire and create a global connection and ‘call to action’ for the next generation in the work to be done.
“We visited Jewish sites including a pluralist school and old age homes, we participated in a Cafe Europa event for Holocaust survivors, visited the AMIA building and site of the Argentina 1994 bombing, had a tango lesson, davened at NCI Emanu–El for Kabbalat Shabbat and over dinner heard how this kehillah went through the process to pave the way for the first same-sex marriage in its synagogue in 2016,” says Jacqui.
Jacqui continues, “sightseeing is only one part of any trip. It is within the group on the trip where the real travel happens. We came together as individuals, and left as a community, having bonded through shared laughter and tears, being challenged and engaged with a whole lot of authentic sharing of our own personal stories and experiences. The daily things we confront in a world where our gender identity and sexual orientation is often questioned, and where we face struggles with acceptance in both the Jewish world and the world at large. We came away inspired by who we are for one another, beacons of tolerance and understanding across the world so that our voices are heard as one.”
For more information, please visit Jewish LGBTIQA and their Allies on Facebook.