The oldest and largest Jewish congregation in Nashville has opened its synagogue to Planned Parenthood for its annual Middle Tennessee fundraiser. The women’s health non-profit — known in part as a provider of abortions — has struggled this year to find a willing host.
After many years holding its fundraiser at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, the organization canceled, citing a new facility-use policy that bans political activities. Then the Gordon Jewish Community Center backed out of its contract with Planned Parenthood under pressure from some members, though the JCC’s executive director
has not commented.
“This congregation has a 50-year history of taking courageous stands on divisive issues, social issues and moral issues and are fully supportive of the right of their clergy to help delineate the direction of the moral compass of this congregation on these issues,” senior Rabbi Mark Schiftan said.
Rabbi Shana Mackler said Planned Parenthood “has become a political football” and the Temple endorses efforts to improve women’s health and limit unwanted pregnancies.
“For us, this was a decision to live out our principles,” she said.
Local Planned Parenthood officials say they’re pleased that next month’s event is still a go. They say the pushback has actually been good for fundraising, with new sponsors coming on board after hearing about the struggle to land a venue.
“We’re raising more money than ever for this event,” spokesperson Keri Adams said.
The event typically raises roughly $50,000, Adams said. Notable guests confirmed for this year include Nashville Mayor-elect Megan Barry, who is a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood.