Click here to learn about Beth El’s Racial Justice Initiative
In November 2022, the RJTF held a Community Conversation for Beth El members to discuss the next steps for engaging in Racial Justice work through Beth El. We met in small groups in person and on Zoom for discussion and feedback and then ranked options presented to prioritize the work of the Task Force moving forward.
The most highly ranked options were:
- Deepen relationships with communities of color.
- Focus on how to make Beth El a truly welcoming community for all members and potential members
- Beth El to join/participate in community efforts/partner with Black-led groups to address structural inequity
- Continued education/access to programming about race/racial justice, more specifically through a Jewish lens.
- The RJTF held a reorganization meeting on December 5, 2022, to reset and plan for the coming year based on the feedback from the Community Conversation coupled with the feedback from the Community Survey.
If you are interested in being a part of the Racial Justice Committee or just want to learn more, please reach out to
Rachel Bearman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readings, Podcasts and Videos on Racial Justice
To independently explore topics of racial justice, the task force compiled this resource list.
- The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates 2014
- White Jews–Wake Up. We’re Part of the Problem, Matt Fieldman 2020
- Religion and Race Speech, Abraham Joshua Heschel 1963
- Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters: Lessons for 2020 from Heschel’s 1963 address on religion and race, Micah Strieffer
- What is Owed? Nicole Hannah Jones, 2020
- Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh White Privilege 1989
- Jews of Color Love Judaism but Often Experience Racism in Jewish Settings, Yonat Shimron 2021
- Whataboutism and Why It Needs to Stop in Social Justice Activism, Helena 2021
- Moving the Race Conversation Forward, Race Forward (4 min)
- How can we win? Seeking justice not revenge, Kimberly Jones (6 min)
- How Racial Bias Works and How to Disrupt It, Jennifer Eberhardt (11 min)
- Racial Wealth Gap, Explained Netflix (16 min)
- How racism makes us sick, David Williams (17 min)
- Racism in America: A History in Three Acts, James Dator (1 hour)
- How to be an Antiracist, Imbram X Kendi (1 hour)
- #14: American Jewish Communities After George Floyd, Identify Crisis Podcast, June 4, 2020 (49 min)
- Member of Whose Tribe? NPR Codeswitch, April 18, 2018 (31 min)
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Unlocking us with Brene’ Brown June 2020 (64 min)
- Hope into Practice, Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite our Fears by Penny Rosenwasser
Looking for more? The following link can provide additional resources including articles, books, podcast, videos, webinars, and curricula https://www.jewishtogether.org/racialjustice.
Rabbi Sonya Starr: Deep in Our Memories, on Historical Trauma in the Jewish and African-American Communities
Sunday, March 6, 2022
Co-sponsored with the Lifelong Learning Committee
Click here to view the recording
This webinar led by Rabbi Sonya Starr will analyze historical trauma as experienced by Ashkenazic/White Jews and American Blacks in order to understand how to move forward together in healthy ways. We will look at the effects of historical trauma and its present day triggers while trying to understand the difference between institutionalized oppression and social/cultural prejudicial experiences. Ultimately the goal will be for participants to walk away from this webinar with greater self awareness and the ability to determine personal and communal next steps in creating healthy and just lives for all American citizens.
Sonya Starr was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1994. For the last 21 years, she was the rabbi at the Columbia Jewish Congregation (CJC) in Columbia MD which she left in June 2021 to pursue full time social justice work. During her time at CJC, she helped her congregation create a sacred arguing policy, a social justice policy, and worked on issues ranging from marriage equality, local green issues, mental health awareness, equal pay for equal work, immigrant justice, and racial justice collaboration. Currently she is an interim organizer at the Religious Action Center where she is working in Pennsylvania on legislative redistricting using a racially just lens and in Illinois on ending source of income discrimination, which disprortionately affects Black and Brown residents.
Resources from this session: