Here are eight ways that white and white-passing Reform Jews, especially, can act now in pursuit of social justice, both directly on a systemic level. These includes advocacy for policy change and for confronting racism within our own communities, and are guided by contributions and feedback from Jews of Color.
If you are my friend, know that I am mourning the heinous murder of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers who worked for a police department with a long history of excessive use of force against Black and Brown bodies.
As fulfilling as it was to engage in Shavuot programs, a lot weighs on me. With COVID-19 continuing to ravage Black communities and racist violence all over the news, I almost feel like it’s Yom Kippur instead – the time when Jews are supposed to be most aware of their own mortality.
On Friday, June 5, we observe Wear Orange Day, a national day of awareness about the scourge of gun violence in the United States. We wear orange to call attention to the epidemic of gun violence facing our country, and to fight for a future free from gun violence.
My career path wasn't always clear, and certainly not straight, but I recently discovered that I can draw a direct line from my current role (and my entire worldview around gender conditioning and Judaism) to the guiding Jewish values of my upbringing.
The Book of Proverbs instructs us to “speak up for those who cannot speak...to raise our voices on behalf of the vulnerable and downtrodden.” (Proverbs 31:8-9). The individuals who make up America’s prison population are isolated, vulnerable, and voiceless.
I carry the trauma of my ancestors, who were kidnapped and enslaved, who survived post-abolition racist terrorism, and who survived devastating Jim Crow laws. I also carry the history of the Jewish people, who have survived countless acts of violence, forced conversion, and genocide.
I run the Squirrel Hill Health Center, a nonprofit federally funded community health center in Pittsburgh. Many people have asked me what it feels like in the trenches. The answer? We feel very much alone.
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If any men or women explicitly utter a nazirite’s vow, to set themselves apart for the Eternal,they shall abstain from wine and any other intoxicant." - Numbers 6:1-2