Opinion | What happened when an Orthodox Jewish congregation went to a gay bar to mourn Orlando
The Orlando attack fell during Shavuot, a joyous Jewish holiday.

When our synagogue heard about the horrific tragedy that took place at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it was at the same time that we were celebrating our festival of Shavuot, which celebrates God’s giving of the Torah.

As Orthodox Jews, we don’t travel or use the Internet on the Sabbath or on holidays, such as Shavuot. But on Sunday night, as we heard the news, I announced from the pulpit that as soon as the holiday ended at 9:17 p.m. Monday, we would travel from our synagogue in Northwest Washington to a gay bar as an act of solidarity.

We just wanted to share the message that we were all in tremendous pain and that our lives were not going on as normal. Even though the holiday is a joyous occasion, I felt tears in my eyes as I recited our sacred prayers.

I had not been to a bar in more than 20 years. And I had never been to a gay bar. Someone in the congregation told me about a bar called the Fireplace, so I announced that as our destination. Afterward, I found out it was predominantly frequented by gay African Americans.

Approximately a dozen of us, wearing our kippot, or yarmulkes, went down as soon as the holiday ended. Some of the members of our group are gay, but most are not. We did not know what to expect. As we gathered outside, we saw one large, drunk man talking loudly and wildly. I wondered whether we were in the right place. Then my mother, who was with me, went up to a man who was standing on the side of the building. She told him why we were there. He broke down in tears and told us his cousin was killed at Pulse. He embraced us and invited us into the Fireplace.

We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out that we had so much in common. We met everyone in the bar. One of the patrons told me that his stepchildren were actually bar-mitzvahed in our congregation. Another one asked for my card so that his church could come and visit. The bartender shut off all of the music in the room, and the crowd became silent as we offered words of prayer and healing. My co-clergy Maharat Ruth Friedman shared a blessing related to the holiday of Shavuot, and she lit memorial candles on the bar ledge. Then everyone in the bar put their hands around each other’s shoulders, and we sang soulful tunes. After that, one of our congregants bought a round of beer for the whole bar.

Everyone in the bar embraced each other. It was powerful and moving and real and raw.

After that we moved to the outdoor makeshift memorial service at Dupont Circle. There, too, we did not know what to expect. But as we gathered around the circle, people kept coming up to us and embracing us. One man we met there told us that his daughter sometimes prays with us. Others were visiting from Los Angeles but joined in full voice, clearly knowing the Hebrew words to the song we were singing.

As we were singing, I looked over at some gay members of our congregation and saw tears flowing down their faces. I felt the reality that we are living in a time of enormous pain. But I also felt that the night was a tremendous learning experience for me. I learned that when a rabbi and members of an Orthodox synagogue walk into a gay African American bar, it is not the opening line of a joke but an opportunity to connect; it is an opportunity to break down barriers and come together as one; it is an opportunity to learn that if we are going to survive, we all need each other.

I don’t think this article got very much traction last year, but I wanted to share it again.

Obama sits alone in a classroom rewriting his remarks before speaking at the memorial service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Taken 2 days after the shooting on Dec. 12, 2012.

On Veterans Day, we say thank you to all the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. Memorials across the country honor our brave veterans and make sure that we never forget their dedication and sacrifice. Photo of the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. courtesy of Nathan Jones.

the ONLY way 

I’m going to forgive MARVEL

if steve rogers dies in infinity war

is if they make it SUPER GAY



I want the slow motion when he takes the shot for someone

I want the overdramatic “NOOOO” while he topples over and hits the ground as everyone forgets that the world is literally ending in favor of running towards him

I want fucking Bucky to cradle his face and look deeply into his eyes and say  shit like “no it’s too soon” and “ we were supposed to make it together” as sentimental music swells

I want Tony and Steve to finally forgive each other. Tony apologizes for everything, Steve responds with an apology of his own. They both admit to have fucking up, it’s beautiful.


steve is holding on to bucky, he looks at him and tells him he’ll be ok, he’ll really be ok now

Bucky is stroking his hair and holding him tight and he’s like “steve i’m not going anywhere i’m right here i’m right here “ and when he realizes he’s really just NOT gonna make it, he gives him this little wry smile and says “it’s ok, you can go. it’s ok..”

steve turns to tony, he tells him he’s one of the best men he’s ever known and to look after the others to which tony pledges “i will”


steve gives his final breath in bucky’s arms in the climax of the musical score called “The End Of The Line” or some shit like that. (wasn’t that a track in CATWS?? IDK maybe it’s the same track but a more Epic arrangement). bucky sobs. natasha sobs. EVERYONE SOBBING. and then they use steve’s memory to defeat thanos.

The post-credit scene is sam wilson coming home from steve’s memorial service to his apartment. he is surprised to find a shield right there, sitting in his living room. there’s a note from tony  saying some shit like “found this in (insert convenient place here), I think he meant for you to have it”. there’s a letter attached to the note, from steve, basically giving him his blessing to be Capn’ Murica. Sam finishes reading the letter with a watery smile and looks on at the shield.

…this is the only. way…. i’m saying goodbye.

It’s been 16 years since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but the images of that day remain clear. Two planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and a third into the Pentagon in Virginia. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives. Because of the actions of 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. In New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and across the country, people will gather today to remember the depth of our loss and the strength of our resolve. By visiting these places and hearing their stories, those who were taken will never be forgotten. Photo from Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania by Tami Heilemann, Interior.

A Beautiful Suicide

This photograph of a woman who committed suicide by jumping off the Empire State Building is one of TIME magazine’s most iconic pictures.

Evelyn McHale (23) travelled to New York on April 30, 1947, to meet with her fiancé and organise her upcoming wedding. Inexplicably, the next day, she visited the Empire State Building and hurled herself from the 86th story observation deck. She landed on the roof of a stationary car, her body miraculously intact. A passing photographer managed to capture Evelyn’s strangely peaceful pose, and he dubbed her ‘the most beautiful suicide in the world’.

Evelyn had been suffering from terrible anxiety and stress over her upcoming wedding, and had left a suicide note next to her neatly folded coat on the observation deck she jumped from. The note read:

“I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”

In accordance with her wishes, Evelyn McHale was cremated with no funeral or memorial service.

the AIDS crisis is inconceivable to me, in the literal sense; I cannot conceive its enormity, cannot wrap my head around it. It’s an abyss. I read the accounts of whole neighborhoods dying, people disappearing by the month, constant memorial services, and I just sort of…I can’t even look at it, this razing wall of death. And no one in power moved to stop it because it was faggots who were dying and no one in power cared. And there’s a whole generation of gay men gone. Just a few random stragglers spared by chance, some of whom I’ve even met. And how do they go on having experienced this whole thing firsthand? How do they make sense of it all? How do they bear it?

anonymous asked:

If by some horrible twist of fate Esme was killed or disappeared how would the rest of her family react? :-(

I assume this “horrible twist of fate” doesn’t involve war with the Volturi, since Esme’s death would just be part of a bigger problem in that case.  The next likely scenario is probably the classic “Edward thought he killed Charles Evenson but actually left him alive and changing, and now he’s an evil vampire out for revenge!” But in this case he’d be more likely to kill Carlisle or just capture Esme or something, so nah.

We’ll go anonymous, then.  A rogue, frightened newborn who just happened to stumble upon Esme while she was out hunting. He or she started a fight and killed + burned Esme.  (pause to cry)  For closure’s sake we’ll say this newborn went on to attack the other Cullens and was killed.  End of incident.

It goes without saying that Carlisle will be a wreck for a long time.  I think it’s entirely possible that he’ll seek death in the end, but not necessarily.  As @panlight has pointed out, Carlisle has so much to live for–so many people who depend upon him, not to mention his own convictions about living with purpose.  I think the others will recognize this and play it up in order to help him make it through that first year.  They’ll have their own grief, and I think Carlisle will be able to support them even as he falls apart himself.  After that… who knows.

I’m sure the others will be able to go on and live their lives, though they will mourn her forever.  I kind of like the idea of the Cullens (maybe after a few weeks) inviting some of their vamp friends and allies, and the pack and Charlie, to celebrate Esme’s life in a memorial service.  I don’t know if Carlisle would be able to participate, but it would mean a lot to him and the family.  It’d also be a neat way for the various groups to join together for something that’s *not* a potential war.

At my funeral
  • Memorial service dude: we are gathered here today to commemorate the life of this person. Their final request was for this song to be played.
  • *opening yoi theme starts playing*
  • *my coffin slowly opens*
  • *everyone stares at coffin in fear*
  • Me: can you hear my heartbeat?
  • My bff: *whispers* t-tired of f-feeling never enough
  • Me: *sits up* close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true
  • My mom: *crying* they'll be no more darkness when you believe in yourself you are unstoppable
  • My dad: where your destiny lies, dancing on the blades, you set my heart on fire

Ted Bundy’s Last Hours before his execution

When a man goes to prison, a lot of paperwork is prepared, many blanks are filled : height, weight, eye color, age. There is a blank marked Religion. When that question was asked of Ted Bundy, he had answered « Methodist », the church of his childhood. Florida State Prison had two Methodist ministers on call that night. Of the two, Bundy chose Reverend Fred Lawrence to pastor him through his last night on Earth.

Lawrence was surprised to be chosen by the nation’s most infamous serial killer; though he was a frequent visitor to death row inmates, he and Bundy had never met. And he felt a strange touch of pride. « I don’t know if one should be honored if Ted Bundy says your name, » Lawrence said later. « But I guess I was. »

Lawrence reached the prison by 1 A.M., when Bundy finished his last meetings with his lawyers, with John Tanner and his with, and with Jamie Boone, Carole’s grown son.

When Lawrence arrived, he talked briefly with the anti-death penalty crusaders Mike Radelet, Susan Cary, and Margaret Vandiver. They told him Bundy had been going through « a very public phase, » and ventured that he would be emotionally drained by the time he returned to his cell. « They predicted it completely, » Lawrence recalled.

Flanked by guards, Bundy and Lawrence left the visiting room and walked down the prison’s long central corridor. A man on death watch was moving, so the rest of the inmates were locked in their cells.

On Q-Wing, they descended a small stairway to the two cells facing the door to the execution chamber. Fred Lawrence settled onto a metal folding chair outside Bundy’s cell. Two guards sat nearby. Bundy had no chair, so he took the pillow from his bunk for cushion on the floor.

Ted Bundy knew he was about to die. This was the end. Fred Lawrence wanted only to give the man a few hours of peace, which he considered his duty as a man of God. He spoke gently by way of beginning: « Ted, tell me something about your life in the church growing up. »

Bundy closed his eyes and drew a deep breath; Lawrence soon realized the doomed man formed each answer in his head, shaped it from beginning to end, before he spoke his first word. When he spoke, it was in a low, sapped voice, and his memories were of Sunday services and potluck suppers and meetings of the Methodist Youth Fellowship.

From Lawrence’s beginning, Bundy took control of the conversation, presenting one last time the face of composure and keen intelligence.

They talked for more than an hour, but nothing Bundy said satisfied the unspoken curiosity in the pastor’s mind : What could make a man like this? « I don’t think even he knew why he was who he was. I don’t think he knew how many he killed or why he killed them. That was my impression, my strong impression. »

A guard approached the cell and asked if Bundy needed anything. The prisoner shook his head and mumbled, « No. » He was tired and withdrawn. About 3 A.M., he mustered the strength to place two telephone calls to the people who had supported him the longest. The first was to his mother. Her son’s confessions had been a terrible shock to Louise Bundy. « Like a blow right between the eyes, » as she put it. But now she showed only her customary composure. Over the phone line, she told Ted how much she loved him, and he answered that he knew how much he had hurt her. The confessions, he explained, had been his attempt to « make it right - to tell the truth. »

During the ten-minute conversation, Bundy became aware that someone was listening in on an extension. His anger flared : « Is somebody on this phone?! » he demanded. A guard’s voice answered, « Yes, Ted. You know I’m on the phone. » His temper passed as quickly as it rose.

He asked that his second call be placed to Carole Boone, and waited tensely as the number was dialed. A couple minutes passed. Something was wrong. At last, the guard said, « The other call you wanted to make it not going to go through, » and Bundy knew immediately what had happened - Boone had refused to speak to him. « His reaction was none at all, » Fred Lawrence remembered. Bundy simply asked to speak to his mother again. During this call, Louise said, « You’ll always be my precious son. »

Lawrence opened his little black book to a favorite poem, « Some Easter Morn, » and began to read.

« Do you really believe God forgives? » Bundy asked.

« Yes, I do, » Lawrence answered. « Because I have been forgiven. »

Bundy nodded. « Do you mind if I listen awhile on the bed? I can listen better. » And as Lawrence continued reading, the killer drifted off to sleep.

Seventy-five minutes later he awoke. It was almost time for Lawrence to leave. The pastor took his military Communion kit and blessed the wafer and wine. After the sacrament, they bowed their heads in silent prayer. « I don’t know what Ted Bundy did, but I confessed my sins, » Lawrence remembered.

Having witnessed the execution of Carl Shriner, Lawrence was able to describe for Bundy what would happen in the chamber. He would be strapped in, then offered a chance to speak, then the leather hood would fall over his face and the headpiece would be attached. He would hear the dull noise of the circuits being opened, and a second later the current would hit him. He should not fear pain.

Bundy listened with his elbows resting on his knees. Then he reached his hands through the bars, and Lawrence took them in his own. « And he squeezed for ten entire minutes, » the minister recounted. « He never said a word. He held my hands tighter than anyone had ever held my hands. The last four minutes, he raised his head and gazed into my eyes - still not speaking - just gazed intently. I didn’t see fear, or uncertainty. He just seemed to want to hang on a little longer before he disappeared. It was like holding on to a dead man. »

housewylde  asked:

Idea for 2TaTCC: an episode where you are in full drag and the cats get out and run into a bunch of places like a school and a memorial service. "It's okay, everybody, I'm not here for *squints* Elmer, I'm just lookin' for my cats."