Aviva Cohen
Darrell Friedman Institute

Striving Towards Racial Justice in our Jewish Communities

 In Jewish Learning

In November 2017, the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (“the Roundtable”) convened a network assembly at the Pearlstone Retreat Center. The Roundtable is a collaboration among 57 organizations pursuing social justice from a Jewish perspective , and both Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are active members.

Leaders from the Reconstructionist movement showed up in full force and made our mark on the November gathering. Reconstructing Judaism and the RRA both brought strong contingents, and there were Reconstructionist leaders representing several other organizations participating (TivnuDetroit Jews for JusticeHIASBend the Arc). Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of Reconstructing Judaism , opened the gathering with the song “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” (“We will build this world from love”).

The organizing principle of this year’s convening was racial equity and justice. Reconstructionist participants were positioned to make powerful contributions to this dialogue. We are rooted in pluralism; we recognize that a diversity of perspectives and experiences makes us stronger. We see that our vitality as a Jewish community depends on reconstructing our traditions to be relevant in our historical moment. Moreover, the movement’s leadership has been thinking about and working on this issue over the last several years.

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