Learn More About Racial Injustice
The Beth David Social Action team organized this list of resources for learning more about racial injustice and how we can support the Black Lives Matter movement:
Reform Jewish Leadership Statement:
Black Lives Matter is a Jewish Value
June 12, 2020
From generation to generation, white Americans, including white Jews, have failed to own and end the systemic racial injustices on which the nation was founded, and instead have actively or passively perpetuated these injustices.
Our Jewish tradition is replete with instances of moral reckoning when we are asked to be present and accounted for. “Ayecha?,” we are asked. “Where are you?” We respond with a full throated, “Hineinu.” “We are here.”
As Reform Jews committed to the spirit of this teaching, we say unequivocally, Black Lives Matter.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to commit to a human and civil rights movement, working to end systemic racism against Black people and white supremacy.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to recognize that we are a racially diverse Reform Jewish Movement, and that our diversity is a source of our strength.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is for white Reform Jews to pledge to be in solidarity with Black Jews and Black people from all backgrounds against racial injustice and to act accordingly.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to recognize the imperative to live with complexity and know that we can be steadfast in our love of and support for Israel while working side by side with those who hold differing views and express them respectfully.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to accept discomfort, knowing that actions or inaction of white Jews have contributed to ongoing racial injustice.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to move beyond allyship and commit to long-term solutions both internally in ourselves, our own organization, and externally in our communities to disrupt and dismantle white supremacy.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to acknowledge that Black people risk their personal comfort and safety every day in white dominated institutions, and that white Jews must commit to risking their personal comfort and even safety in the struggle for racial justice.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to ensure that People of Color can be whole, never expected to choose between aspects of their identity and celebrate the multifaceted nature of humanity.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to commit to individual and organizational antiracist trainings, identifying specific antiracist hiring practices and lay structures, and outlining goals a
round specific racial justice action steps.
To affirm that Black Lives Matter is for white Jews to reflect on their own thoughts and behavior, to build meaningful relationships with Jews of Color and People of Color generally, and to work for reforms that will achieve real, lived freedom for Black people.
We affirm that Black Lives Matter.
Social Justice and Urgency of Now
Recognizing that at this moment in history the need for tikkun olam, repair of the world, is significant, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism launched the Urgency of Now Initiative on behalf of the Reform Jewish Movement. This Initiative focuses on building power and momentum across North America by engaging congregations in issue-specific social justice work that enables us to grow and learn from one another.
Beth David is proud to be one of
over 150 participating congregations signing onto the Brit Olam, the covenant committing us to acting powerfully and as one to bring upon the world we want: a world filled with justice, compassion, and wholeness.
As a congregation, Beth David will focus on:
- Building relationships across lines of difference in our local community;
- Acting at the local, state, and/or federal levels to address the root causes of injustice through advocacy and/or congregational or broad-based community organizing; and
- Fostering a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our
- congregation where all opinions are heard.
The Social Action committee organizes much of Beth David’s work. Our auxiliary groups — Beth David Men and Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ)— and the Religious School all select
and carry out their own social action activities as well. Often these groups work in collaboration, making our programs that much more successful and strengthening our community ties.
This hard-working group guides and coordinates many of Beth David’s social action endeavors. Some projects are ongoing, such as collecting food at High Holidays and year-round for the Mitzvah Pantry. Others change from year to year, responding to need and reflecting the interests and passions of the committee members. Any member willing to suggest and spearhead a project will find support and collaboration.
Several times throughout the year, Beth David hosts a cook-in, where congregants of all ages, including many children, come together at Beth David to prepare and freeze hundreds of meals, to benefit Caring for Friends. This organization delivers heat-and-serve meals to elderly shut-ins, who would otherwise have very limited access to hot, healthy foods.