Chanukah Benefit Concert for LGBTQ Jewish Youth Organization Faces Death Threats / LGBTQ Nation

A Jewish pride flag seen at the Pride of Tel AvivPhoto: Shutterstock

A concert organized and staged by an LGBTQ Jewish organization this weekend is going to have heavy security measures in place due to threats made against it.

The lead singer of the group featured in the concert has already received threatening phone calls, one suggesting the deaths of everyone attending the event. Yet everyone involved is hoping to make sure their community knows: “Your whole is yours.”

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Queer Jewish Youth (JQY) are hosting their fourth annual Hanukkah concert tomorrow at a New York City synagogue. Lesbian actress Leah Forster is the host for the benefit evening, with the band Shlock Rock headlining a number of performers overnight.

However, the Jerusalem Post reports that in addition to the usual anti-Semitic harassment, threats are being made against the concert by anti-LGBTQ extremists.

Shlock Rock lead singer Lenny Solomon received a phone call from someone who was laughing at the concert, saying, “At Hanukkah we celebrate the Chashmonayim (Hasmoneans) killing people at events like this” , and the Hasmoneans “would do the same” this weekend.

The show still goes as planned, but not without additional safety and security measures.

JQY and other Jewish LGBTQ advocates are no strangers to attacks and hate rhetoric.

“If these are the messages our performers are getting, imagine the messages our JQY teens are getting,” said Rachael Fried, Executive Director of JQY. To post, “Both explicitly and in terms of what is not said out loud. It’s comments like this that reinforce the importance and relevance of JQY’s mission and the life-saving work we do.

Tickets are still on sale for the concert, which is co-sponsored by several other Jewish organizations, such as the Zionesse Movement, Girls Magazine, and another LGBTQ Jewish group Keshet. All proceeds will go to JQY’s programming and advocacy work, “including the adolescent drop-in center and crisis line for LGBTQ youth from Orthodox, Hasidic and Sephardic homes.”

In addition to Schlock Rock, artist Rafi Barides and queer lawyer Chana Weiss will also be featured in the concert. Reserved tables promise light kosher vegetarian dishes, hot latkes, fresh sufganiyot, and wine. Masks and proof of vaccination compulsory.

JQY held such a benefit concert for the first time in 2018, bringing nearly 400 people to see host trans writer Hannah Simpson and performances by Eli Schwebel.