Purim off Ponce met its goal of raising $55,000 for SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity while honoring Conservative Rabbis Michael Bernstein and Pamela Gottfried with the Michael Jay Kinsler Rainmaker Award at Le Fais do-do on Saturday night, Feb. 25.

Rabbi Bernstein, the spiritual leader of Congregation Gesher L’Torah, and Rabbi Gottfried, the dean of Jewish studies and student life at the Weber School, were recognized for their longtime support of SOJOURN, including their active opposition to efforts to pass Georgia religious liberty legislation that could be used to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

The event featured a speech from Sarah Lashinsky, a Georgia Tech graduate who teaches seventh-graders at Congregation Bet Haverim’s Sunday school, who recalled when she was a seventh-grader at Temple Kehillat Chaim 10 years ago and was helped through dealing with her own sexuality by a class conversation facilitated by SOJOURN’s predecessor, the Rainbow Center.

Lashinsky said SOJOURN Executive Director Rebecca Stapel-Wax recently facilitated the same time of discussion for the Bet Haverim class she teaches as she benefited from a decade ago.

“Thank you, SOJOURN, for being a harbor for LGBT and Jewish folks in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast,” Lashinsky said. “We are so grateful to you.”

Photos by MaryBeth Hayes and Jean Bartlett