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SOME WORDS ON

Racial Justice at the Shabbat Dinner Table I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. — Martin Luther King Jr.

Our congregations and Jewish institutions must instantly speak out against acts of racism whenever they occur and follow up with action. We must prove that our prayers are not just poetic gestures; they are the centuries-old sacred fuel empowering us to stand firm in the face of the Pharaohs of our day. Black Jews are tired, and we have been tired for a long time. But most of us — more than most, I’d say — are nonetheless hopeful. We’re hopeful that despite being ignored and failed in the past, our allies will do the work we are often too exhausted to (but do anyway). We are hopeful that our Jewish community will take every story of racism — within or outside of the Jewish community — as a personal challenge to do better by us. Please do not let our hopes be in vain. — Chris Harrison

I am honoring the Black, brown, and native bodies sacrificed so white people could build and rule this nation. I am honoring the Black and queer communities for fighting for the liberties I have been blessed with as a queer woman of color. I ask that you do the same, no matter how you identify. — Aviva Davis

Heschel was hardly the only Jew or rabbi to participate in the Selma march. Jews flocked to the South to participate as Freedom Riders and in efforts to register Black voters. On the other hand, the Selma photograph also shows a large billboard advertising a department store owned by Sol Tepper, a member of Selma’s Jewish community and an outspoken proponent of segregation. As the daughter of Rabbi Heschel, I have long felt that the photograph of the Selma march should not signal celebration but challenge: Are we actively forging alliances with the African American community? When will African American and Asian American Jews feel fully at home in Jewish institutions? Can we put aside our pride in the efforts of Jewish civil rights workers of the 1960s and recognize how much work is left for us to do? — Dr. Susannah Heschel

Racism is enduring, ubiquitous, ever-present, complex and multifaceted. 400 years after enslaved Africans were brought to this continent, African Americans still await true freedom and justice after centuries of enslavement, Jim Crow laws, and today’s New Jim Crow of mass incarceration. The hostility and cruelty directed against People of Color flies in the face of our common humanity and, we believe, rips at the very heart of God. — Dr. Susannah Heschel and Rabbi Michael Rothbaum

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Some Words on Racial Justice at the Shabbat Dinner Table  

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronge...

Some Words on Racial Justice at the Shabbat Dinner Table  

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronge...