Ziv Nevo Kulman was all smiles as he led a Jewish delegation in the annual Halifax Pride Parade in mid-July.
It was the first time ever in Atlantic Canada that a Jewish group marched in solidarity with the LBGT community, and the consul general of Israel to Montreal and Atlantic Canada said that, as part of that group, he was proud to lead this initial effort.
“I was thrilled to have so many from the Jewish community, more than 20 people of all ages, walk with me,” he said two days after the event.
“I was proud of the Halifax community members who organized their participation, which proudly showed how Jewish Maritimers and, by extension, Israel treats the LBGT sector.”
Jon Goldberg, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council, which helped co-ordinate the Jewish contingent, said “we used to have only a booth in the Halifax Pride events, but there had been little impetus to march in the parade [which drew more than 10,000 marchers and thousands more spectators].
“The consul general pushed us. We had to register as an organization, and we did, and we were placed very near the front of the parade, 17th of about 240 organizations registered.”
Kulman added: “I was told this was one of the biggest parades ever in the city. All stripes of politicians were there. I was so proud that it shared the values of Canada and Israel. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where pride events are held. I’ve certainly had support from my superiors in the Israeli government.”
He continued: “This gave me chance to march in solidarity with the community to which I belong and show that I’m a proud Israeli, too.”
The group marched under the banner of Ga’ava, the Montreal Jewish community’s LGBT advisory committee. Its president, Carlos A Godoy L., was in Halifax on business and stayed for the parade.
Kulman will be in Charlottetown, P.E.I., this weekend (July 29-31) for similar events, which he expects will be smaller than Halifax, “but will give me a good way to connect with both the Jewish and secular communities.”
With members of the Nova Scotia legislature and a federal representative from the Nova Scotia South Shore, Kulman also visited Camp Kadimah in Barss Corner, N.S., during his visit to the province. He addressed more than 350 campers and staff, met with a group of 33 campers and staff from Israel, and swam in Lake William.
“I slept in a five-star cabin Shabbat night,” he added, tongue-in-cheek, “and experienced cinnamon rolls that are famous at Kadimah and available only on Shabbat morning. I even printed my name on a graffiti wall in the newly decorated director’s cabin. That was fun.”