Our Complex Community: Appreciating Diversity and Inclusion

An online toolkit for Jewish professionals to become ambassadors and advocates for diversity and inclusion within their own organizations.

This toolkit will enable professionals at all Jewish organizations to have access to a full range of resources and Jewish education modules to encourage dialogue and inspire cultural change on behalf of diversity and inclusion in their organizations. The toolkit contains resources for organizational self-assessment and modification, programs on education and awareness, national and local resources, Jewish texts and discussion prompts designed to actualize deep conversations on these topics. The resources cover such topics as: gender identity and sexual orientation, disabilities, interfaith families and inter-racial diversity, as well as denominational differences.  This process is meant to be self-perpetuating, educational and empowering to the organizations.  We invite you to create a profile and share the programs, videos, articles, discussion topics, and Jewish texts, that have informed the work of your organization. 

We have a Jewish moral obligation of Ahavat Yisrael – to love all Jews. Our values guide our life, behavior and attitudes, and we come from a place of Kavod, respect.

Jewish tradition teaches that all humans are created b’tzelem elohim, in God’s image, and we are obligated to respect human dignity, kavod habriyot. Our imperative as Jews is to face difficult questions with sincerity and integrity, and advocate for change when necessary. It is the responsibility of professionals serving in the Jewish community to model these values and to be aware and responsive to the needs of the under-served and marginalized segments of our Jewish community. Judaism values diversity, racial differences, gender differences and how we treat each other. Judaism teaches us about respect for different Jews’ beliefs and lifestyle choices derived from our Jewish texts and traditions.

Rooted in Jewish values, DFI encourages professionals to explore deeper learning through professional development so they may enhance their skills, advance their careers and better their relationships with their colleagues and lay leaders, as they strengthen their organization’s mission and Jewish community.

As Jewish Communal professionals we are challenged with the quickly changing landscape of the Jewish community and families. As both local and national Jewish community studies have indicated, the Jewish community represents all nationalities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, differences in abilities, and all forms of family structures.  Denominational diversity in the Baltimore Jewish community is an important area where there is much work to be done. Taken together, Jews with diverse identities are no longer the minority of the Jewish population but rather are the majority of who we are today.

To best serve the needs of our diverse Jewish population in Baltimore, through this toolkit and diversity and inclusion training in the community, professionals will gain knowledge and understanding of best practices of inclusion and sensitivity, grounded in Jewish teaching.

Funded by The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education of the The Associated.

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