If you’re looking to get involved in the fight toward racial justice but not sure where to start, carve out time to watch a webinar. Any of these 5 informative webinars below are a great place to begin.
Rabbi Shai Held, the president, dean and Chair of Jewish Thought of Mechon Hadar and former Director of Education at Harvard University’s Hillel, has been honored multiple times on Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. He joined Bruce Turnbull, the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Initiative for JCPA, and Melanie Roth Gorelick, Senior Vice President of JCPA, in a conversation that took place back in April of 2019 about the historical relationship between the African-American and Jewish communities.
In this enlightening presentation, Turnbull discussed Jewish involvement in the 1960s civil rights movement. Many of the major civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP, had Jewish co-founders and funders. Moreover, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, then President of the American Jewish Congress, spoke at the March on Washington to the crowd gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial directly before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his acclaimed “I Have a Dream” speech. Turnbull goes into detail and provides a deeper understanding of Black-Jewish relations. He gives the full picture, highlighting not only Jewish activists but also Southern Jews who supported segregation.
In this webcast conversation, Rabbi Nico Socolovsky of Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton, California, interviews Rabbi Adam Kligfeld of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. Titled after Rabbi Kligfeld’s article published in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, “We Must Sweep Away the Racism Along with the Broken Glass” sheds light on the protests and rioting happening today and raises interesting points about how the Jewish community looks differently today compared to a decade and two decades ago.
Rabbi Kligfeld’s cleverly titled article plays on the Jewish wedding custom where the groom traditionally breaks a glass with his right foot. “I say to [couples] under the chuppah: ‘You are sadly getting married and building love and building a family in a broken world. You are inheriting that, even if you didn’t directly cause it, and one of our high hopes for you is that you as a Jewish couple will take your love and apply it toward the Sisyphean task of trying to put that broken glass back together,” Rabbi Kligfeld said.
“And that’s not just broken Jewish glass,” he added. “It’s also broken Jewish glass, but it’s the broken glass of the Verizon store and the broken glass of the Chase Bank, and the broken glass of the black communities in Los Angeles and around the country that do not have the peace that we sometimes take for granted.”
At JCPA’s national conference this February in Washington, D.C., they hosted a panel discussion consisting of Rabbi Robert Kaplan, the Director of The Center for Community Leadership at JCPC in New York, Carly Pildis, contributing editor for Tablet magazine, and Rabbi Shais Rishon, an African-American, Orthodox rabbi based in Brooklyn. The three panelists discussed how to stand together to face growing antisemitism and racism, covering topics such as police brutality, gentrification and policy change.
David Bernstein, the president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs hosted a webcast back in July of 2018, and the conversation remains ever-so relevant today. Bernstein interviews Lacey Schwartz, the Director of Outreach for Be'chol Lashon, an organization that raises awareness about the racial diversity in the Jewish community. According to Be’chol Lashon, 20% of Jews in America are African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian or mixed race. Bernstein and Schwartz have an open conversation about racial bias and issues facing Jews of color.
Our own Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is hosting a discussion with Philadelphia-area Black legislators. The webinar will cover the events that have taken place following the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and will discuss pending legislation to address racial injustice and police brutality. They will also discuss how the Jewish community can effectively partner with the Black community to address racism and inequality in America.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is committed to rising to this moment in the fight for racial justice. Click here to learn more about our JCRC's racial justice initiatives and how you can get involved.