Blog Post : Give back, Travel, Love

Give back, Travel, Love | Anonymous (not verified) | Dec 4, 2012

"World AIDS Day Through Jewish Eyes"

Blog post by Bryan Meisel

"As a Health Educator, I have always viewed World AIDS day from a Public Health perspective. I encourage all of my sexually active friends to get tested for HIV, promote the use of condoms and educate my friends and co-workers about HIV and AIDS. (Incase you didn’t know, the four ways to spread HIV is thru semen, vaginal secretion, breast milk and blood. And yes, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.) This year I commemorated World AIDS Day very differently. I went to synagogue for Shabbat services, however, this wasn’t any ordinary synagogue. I went with a group of NYU students to welcome in the Jewish Sabbath at CBST (the LGBTQ friendly temple located in Chelsea, NYC). This specific community was started in the 1970s, before the mysterious “gay cancer” took hold in the United States. CBST lost 25% of its male members to AIDS in the 1980s, totaling over 100 men. Instead of commemorating World AIDS day by throwing condoms at NYU students, I heard stories. Usually during Shabbat services it is generally customary for a Rabbi to give the sermon. Instead, the synagogue had members speak to the congregation. We had some of the older members stand up and recount stories of the friends they had lost to AIDS. Everyone in the audience was fighting back tears as members recounted befriending the parents of their friends who had died due to AIDS. It was really heart wrenching to hear about a phantom generation of gay men who don’t exist due to AIDS...."


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