Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

International conference of GLBT Jews coming to Winnipeg

  • Print
Paula Parks and Arthur Blankstein are co-chairs for the 21st World Conference of GLBT Jews.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Paula Parks and Arthur Blankstein are co-chairs for the 21st World Conference of GLBT Jews. Photo Store

WHEN Arthur Blankstein travelled to Los Angeles to attend his first International Conference of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Jews in the mid-1970s, he was one of only a handful of Canadian delegates.

When he returned to Los Angeles more than 30 years later for another International Conference of GLBT Jews, he was one of only two Winnipeggers in attendance.

Now he and that second Winnipegger, Paula Parks, are bringing the global conference to Winnipeg.

The 21st International Conference of GLBT Jews will take place the weekend of July 5-7. About 150 people are expected to attend. Blankstein and Parks began discussing the possibility of their hometown hosting the event after returning from L.A. They were confident Anakhnu, the local Jewish GLBT organization in which they were active, and its sponsor organization, the Rady JCC, would fully support the idea.

"The Rady JCC has been the lead agency in the community doing outreach to GLBT Jews for the last 10 years," Blankstein says. "Through their work with Anakhnu it seemed like a great starting point to start the discussion about hosting the conference in Winnipeg."

That discussion led to the creation of a committee and the submission of a formal proposal to the World Congress. The moment the proposal was approved -- granting Winnipeg the honour of being the first Canadian city to host the conference -- the committee, including representation from two local synagogues, began planning the weekend's activities.

"There has been a genuine interest in this conference by both the Jewish and general communities since day one," Blankstein says. "The conference is a significant opportunity for the Jewish, GLBT and general communities to work together."

The result of this working together is an event that promises to be uniquely enlightening and entertaining.

"There is a great lineup of speakers," Parks says enthusiastically. "Our keynotes include Joy Ladin, Jay Michaelson and Leslea Newman, all of whom are published authors and well known in the Jewish GLBT community."

Michaelson is the author of God vs. Gay, The Religious Case for Equality, and Newman is the author of the children's book Heather Has Two Mommies. Yeshiva University English professor Joy Ladin is the author of Through the Door of Life, a memoir recounting her experiences as the first openly transgender person to teach at an Orthodox Jewish institution.

Additional speakers will focus on synagogue inclusion, aging and ways of decreasing health and lifestyle risks among GLBT youth. "This conference is unlike anything that has been seen in Winnipeg before," Blankstein says. "No matter people's backgrounds or affiliations, they would find it interesting and relevant."

Importantly, the conference will also provide an opportunity for Winnipeggers to show off their city, their country and their shared commitment to diversity and acceptance.

The fact the conference is being held in Winnipeg says a great deal about both the Jewish community and also the community at large, Parks says.

"We are fortunate to have a very inclusive community," she says. "Since the inception of hosting this conference, we have not encountered any negativity at all. In fact, we have only seen great support."

schisvin@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2013 D15

History

Updated on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM CDT: Put in colour photo.

9:50 AM: Fixed cutline

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060710 The full moon rises above the prairie south of Winnipeg Monday evening.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What should the city do with the 102-year-old Arlington Street bridge?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google