Racism is implicitly and explicitly embedded in American society’s structure and culture. It is a pervasive virus that seeps into all aspects of our lives, including our Jewish community. It’s what motivated a mob of Chasidic Jews to harass me in front of my home for carrying a Torah scroll because it was too far fetched for a black man carrying a Torah to be a fellow Jew. It’s what continues to marginalize Jewish people of color, making even holy Jewish spaces like synagogues intolerable for many.
Every year we recall the Israelite experience of oppression, redemption and the recurring commandment to care for those in society that remain oppressed, such as the stranger, the orphan and the widow. These memories and values are key to embodying anti-racism through concrete acts of care and shifting access to power, which is critical to actualizing our true multi-racial community in its fullest glory.
-- Yehudah Webster, Community Organizer, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)
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