The 3rd Annual JQ International Awards Garden Brunch RECAP

Kol Ami’s HIV/AIDS Support Group Welcomes You
June 1, 2016
A Delicious & Nutritious Vegan Shabbat!
August 15, 2016

The 3rd Annual JQ International Awards Garden Brunch RECAP

 The 3rd Annual JQ International
Awards Garden Brunch
May 22nd, 2016

Attendees said the 2016 JQ Awards Brunch was:
“Stunning,” “Soul inspiring”, “Relevant,”
“Always pushing the envelope,”
“Brings the invisible visible.”

JQ Visibility Award – Kevin Goetz

Kevin is known as the “doctor of audience testing” for Hollywood. Located in Los Angeles, he also enjoys traveling globally as an active LGBTQ philanthropist.

Growing up in the 50’s I was called, fag, femme, queer. Those damaging words were seared onto the back of my neck as kids heckled me and whispered about me. And yet, I never apologized for who I was. I am now proud to be able to be all of me, entrepreneur, philanthropist, gay and Jewish! I am proud to say my husband Neil and I have been together for over 22 years, and we are godparents to two amazing boys. I believe you can either Stand By and watch life or Stand Up and urge people to join you.”


JQ Inspiration Award- Mastaneh Moghadam

“My mission has always been clear– to eliminate injustice wherever it exists so that all people have the opportunity to live an authentic life.”

“With JQ’s support and guidance, we were able to declare March 2016 as Iranian LGBTQ month in West Hollywood. We begin an open dialogue with the Iranian community regarding LGBTQ issues in the groundbreaking panel discussion, Out of Iran and Out of the closet. And for that JQ International and Asher, I thank you!

“This recognition that has been given to me here today is not just a validation of the work that I have done but one of the first times that light has been shed upon the struggles, indignities, and persecution that Iranian LGBTQ individuals have had to suffer for generations and still suffer today not only in the country of Iran but also as Iranian-Americans living in Los Angeles.”


JQ Community Leadership Award Co-Recipients –

Rabbi Jon Hanish and Rabbi Bill Kaplan

Asher Gellis and JQ Members from the JQlub Windows during Pride 2015“We are honored to receive this award. There is one simple lesson that the JQSA [Jewish Queer Straight Alliance] is based upon and it is a lesson in which we truly believe. We are all created ‘”betzelem elohim”’, which means we are all created in God’s image. Each of us is holy and each of us is unique and if we wish to see God’s face all we need to do is to look at one another. It is this simple reason why we started the JQSA collaboration with Rabbi Heather Miller and JQ International.


JQSA Parent – Deborah Engel-Kollin

 2015 JQ Pride Marchers w/ AJU and MJCSDeb shares from her heart with a note to her out, gay son Yoni:

“Dear Yoni, What I was really most concerned with when you came out was if you would find your place in our Conservative Jewish community as a young gay male. Thank G-d for JQ International!

JQ is an organization that would help with everything that I wanted for you, my son. And guess what, Yoni – JQSA has done all that for you and more! Because of you, I am a proud JQ Board member and making a difference in this world.”


JQSA Teens – Miles Rosenthal & Joe Meyer

JQSA Teen Joe Meyer shared, “Discovering what your sexuality is or what or who you choose to identify as is a very personal journey.” And that journey can be very painful, lonely and hard. I’ve emerged a better person. So thank you, to the world, to my mom and dad, for making me gay. I wouldn’t change anything!”

JQSA Teen Miles Rosenthal came out to his parents with, – “’Don’t worry, he is Jewish.’  That’s what I said to my parents after coming out to them and telling them I had a boyfriend. I knew they would accept me. One of my biggest challenges is the Torah, since that is my biggest guide in life and when I started questioning, it told me I was wrong.”

The Teen JQSA honors Miles’ concerns with t-shirts quoting Rabbi Smuley Boteach: “There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish, gay couples come to me for counseling and tell me they have never been attracted to the opposite sex in their entire lives and are desperately alone, I tell them, “‘You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy.'”

Thank you to Bruce Villanch for being the Emcee of the event and to 2016 Award Brunch Co-Chairs Danny Fisk and Aaron Jacob. And to the stars who supported and attended the Awards Brunch:

  • Joshua Butler – Director of The Vampire Diaries.
  • Dina Shihabi – The first Middle Eastern-born woman to be accepted to both the Juilliard and NYU Graduate Acting programs.
  • Assaad Yacoub- Gay and out, he directed and produced his first feature film, an adaptation of ‘Cherry Pop.’
  • Teo Briones – Actor in ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Pretty Little Liars’
  • Isa Briones – Actor in ‘Takers’

JQ would like to send out a special thanks to Lynn and Les Bider for hosting the 2016 Awards Brunch and to the families of Nick and Vaughan Meyer, and Allison and Bennett Rosenthal for their generous support in launching the Westside JQSA! 

The Awards Brunch 2016 was an afternoon to remember! Thank you to all of our supporters and community members for a joyous and momentous event.

Asher Gellis

JQ International Executive Director

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