We are focusing on a wide range of activities to address racial justice within the United States and within the Jewish community itself.
To focus our Racial Justice efforts this past year, we crystallized and articulated our vision and mission for our racial justice work:
“We envision BAS as a Jewish community where people of all races and ethnicities feel at home. Guided by the central Jewish precept that all humans reflect the Divine Image, we thoughtfully and respectfully strive to pursue justice and equity for everyone within our congregation and in the wider community. We do this by educating ourselves about racism and its impact on our synagogue, our Jewish community and the greater society. We focus on activities that advance inclusion and diversity within our own community, and address racism and its attendant injustices in society.”
Accordingly, this past year – given pandemic restrictions – our efforts focused on a series of educational online activities including speakers, book group discussions and movie discussions on Black/Jewish relations; White Supremacy; and Jews of Color, among others. Our advocacy activities included voter registration efforts and lobbying for new Westchester County tenants’ rights, among others. Our service initiatives featured several “drive-thru” contactless collections of groceries, toys and baby supplies.
Pending pandemic protocols, this coming year we will continue this work. Some of our upcoming education, advocacy and/or service activities will include a:
- High Holiday through Sukkot food collection for Feeding Westchester
- New Tikkun Olam/Social Action Family Program in partnership with Family Education and Engagement Director Lisa Jacobs, the Hebrew School and the Family Programming Chevra
- Racial Justice Educational Resource – a subgroup in our chevra has been developing very extensive vetted lists and links of educational resources on racial justice issues (e.g., books, articles, podcasts, TED Talks, etc.). Stay tuned for the launch of this initiative soon.
- Diversity Audit to review BAS policies and communications and recommend enhancements to ensure that we are welcoming to all.
- Midnight Run – After a “pandemic pause,” this important work is back! BAS’s next date is: Saturday night, September 25th. Stay tuned for emails to the congregation with a list of food and toiletries to donate and opportunities to help distribute them.
- Speakers and a series of several facilitated discussion groups further educating and helping us explore our thoughts and feelings related to identity, power and privilege, Black/Jewish relations; and Jews of Color, among other topics.
Contact Joy Brownstein for more information.