For decades, systemic racism and oppressive forces have marginalized and taken the lives of Black and Brown Americans. Following last week’s events at the U.S. Capitol building, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) hosted a live online event called “Healing, Hope, Action: The Capitol Insurrection – Where Do We Go From Here?,” an exploration of the systemic change we need on the local, state, and federal levels to confront systemic racism and repair our national fabric.
As the webinar began, the Reform Movement issued a statement applauding the House of Representatives’ bipartisan vote to hold President Trump accountable for his incitement of violence against the United States government. The statement urges the Senate to act on this Article of Impeachment.
The webinar followed official statements issued in the wake of the events of January 6, 2021, including the URJ’s statement sent amid the insurrection itself and one afterward regarding the element of white supremacy. NFTY: The Reform Jewish Youth Movement shared its own statement, as well.
If you missed the webinar, you can watch it above or on the URJ Facebook page. Below are some of the resources shared on that call, for use in congregations and Jewish communities, as well as by families and individual, in our shared pursuit of justice.
1. Listen to the voices of Jews of Color
In a powerful video message, Reform Jewish leaders of Color speak about the history of racial oppression in the United States and how we can hold ourselves accountable for a call to change, repair, and disruption. Download the discussion guide for congregational and communal conversations accompanying this video.
In another video, "Owning Our Racial Equity Work Ahead: Three Things We Must Do," Yolanda Savage Narva, the Union for Reform Judaism’s director of Racial, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, calls on each of us in the Jewish community to do three things to advance our racial equity work. Watch the video, accompanied by reflection questions.
2. Write to Congress in Support of Racial Justice
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) makes it easy to write to your elected officials in support of pressing social justice causes. As the 117th Congress convenes, urge your members of Congress to support the study and development of reparations for slavery and systemic racism, to enact policing reforms, and to protect voting rights. To stay apprised of future legislative updates and opportunities to take action, subscribe to the RAC’s emails.
3. Download the URJ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Community Assessment
This URJ tool is a starting point for reflection, conversation, and action in your community, intended to help your community identify the steps needed to root yourselves in DEI principles by building on existing measures and initiating new ones. Think of it as an idea checklist: a vision of the type of community you strive to be. Fill out this short form to download the community assessment.
- URJ Audacious Hospitality Resources: Access the URJ’s carefully curated congregational resources, including educational resource modules, toolkits, and more.
- Racial Justice Issue Page: Visit the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s racial justice page for action alerts, legislative updates, and more.
- Racial Justice Media List: These films, books, podcasts, and essays illuminate institutional racism, privilege, and the lived experiences of Jews of Color.
- MLK Day & Shabbat Tzedek: These resources are designed to help Jewish communities honor Dr. King’s legacy throughout MLK Day weekend.
- More Racial Justice Resources for Reform Jews: Find additional materials designed for synagogues and communities to spur learning and action around racial justice.
- Jewish Resources for Coping with the Capitol Insurrection: These resources may help both children and adults to process and cope during times of crisis:
Wednesday’s call followed "Healing, Hope, Action: A Reform Movement Pre-Shabbat Gathering," held on Friday, January 8, 2021, in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol insurrection. If you missed that event, you can watch it online and find the resources shared by speakers during the call.
For ongoing updates about racial justice and other topics of importance to Reform Jews, follow Reform Judaism.org on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and sign up for our emails at ReformJudaism.org/subscribe.