Jewish Christmas parties, such as the Matzo Ball, are geared toward straight singles. But tonight, there are also warring gay parties in New York City that are competing for the attention of Jewish gay men.
There’s the third annual “Christmas Eve Jewbilee,” thrown by Jayson Littman of He’Bro, a gay, Jewish networking site. The party will cater to the “young, gay professional” set, as Littman puts it. The gathering, at Hudson Terrace in Midtown, is 21 and up, and there is a $7 cover (10% of the proceeds will go to Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, which serves the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community in Manhattan).
Then there’s “Homo for the Holidays,”, put on by Alan Picus, for the 18 and up crowd. There is no cover and the bash will be held at Splash, a gay bar on West 17th Street.
Littman says his party is for culturally Jewish gay men, who aren’t necessarily practicing, but still want to date other Jews. However, he notes that anyone — straight, lesbians, non-Jews — can attend. “There are a lot of yarmulkes at the party,” he said. “There are Orthodox gays who come to the party. Bartenders will be wearing yarmulkes, too.”
And while you may not meet your future husband, you may just meet that special someone: “I don’t know if any marriages have come from it yet, but it’s still a new party, and marriage is still not legal in New York,” Littman said.
Both parties begin at 9 p.m. on Christmas eve.
Just in time for New York’s gay pride events, the president of the Jewish Labor Committee, Stuart Appelbaum, announced publicly that he is gay.
Appelbaum is thought to be the first president of a major international union to come out. Appelbaum is the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents 100,000 workers — most famously, the clerks at Macy’s, Saks and other department stores.
Appelbaum is no stranger to representing minority communities within the labor movement. He is the current president of the Jewish Labor Committee, where he has led efforts to stop union boycotts of Israel.
Appelbaum told Gay City News that he came out in order to help support gay marriage legislation that is working its way through the New York state legislature: “Marriage equality is so important to me. I came out because of it.”
Until now the most famous labor leader to come out publicly is another Jewish labor leader, Randi Weingarten, who heads the American Federation of Teachers, which is not an international union. Together Weingarten and Appelbaum provide one more indication that Jews remain at the progressive edge of the American labor movement.
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