Season of Our Joy

Atlanta Pride Parade 2022 (from top left): MACoM at Pride, Rabbis at Pride, Teachers at Pride, Pride Manicure, SOJOURN float leads the way, Dancing Unicorn poses with Rabbi.


Early Sunday morning:

I take the challah dough out of the fridge where it has been rising slowly overnight. I have just enough time to shape it, apply egg wash, let it come to room temperature, bake it, and remove it from the oven before I need to meet Jocelyn at MARTA.

While it comes to room temperature, I dress quickly and pack my bag: Breeze Card, cash, ID, keys, phone, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen. When it’s in the oven, I paint my nails with rainbow-glitter polish and apply a fast-drying, clear top coat.

I’ve been looking forward to this day since August.

Even as I was packing my favorite t-shirts for Capital Pride in Ottawa, I realized we’d be celebrating Atlanta Pride and our friend Judith’s milestone birthday in the Sukkah on October 9th, 2022. The anticipatory joy of being together after two years of virtual “Pride Inside” gatherings sustained me during the challenges of the last two weeks.

Early Sunday afternoon:

The Parade begins, but we are in Row D outside Civic Center Station and won’t get moving for a while. Cliff is on the SOJOURN float playing music while we hug, laugh, catch up with one another. We visit with groups lined up on either side of us, take photos and videos, dance a hora.

Every ten or fifteen minutes Cliff sounds his shofar, fools me into believing we will begin marching. But it’s nearly two hours before we get the official signal to move forward. Once we turn onto Peachtree, I’m overwhelmed by crowds of people lining the sidewalks, cheering and waving arms, flags, signs.

The collective joy of thousands animates the city.

Late Sunday afternoon:

It’s after 4:30 when I exit the MARTA station. I’m exhausted and confident I’ll have renewed energy for our Sukkot birthday celebration. I have two hours to change my clothes, glaze the Cranberry-Orange challah, return to MARTA to collect our son and his girlfriend who are joining us for dinner. They will help set and clear the table, take leftover dessert back to campus.

We’re instructed to “have nothing but joy” on Sukkot (Deuteronomy 16:15). At times I’ve regarded this joy as aspirational.

This year I found such joy to be attainable.