Jewish Ritual and Activism for Racial Justice

Jews of Color in Conversation

November 15, 2020
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

Jews of Color are leading powerful initiatives in and beyond Jewish communities to challenge white supremacy, defund the police and reinvest in minoritized communities, and transform structures of power and accountability. By claiming these acts of resisting racial violence as a crucial part of a long-standing Jewish justice tradition, they tap into the power of ancient religious ethical imperatives—and aim to transform the way practitioners put their religious commitments into practice. Through this work, they also call American Jewish institutions to reckon with the realities of racial inequality, presumptions of Jewish whiteness, and the assumed normativity of Ashkenazi Euro-American Jewish identity.

This panel brought together Jews of Color working as activists, organizers, and spiritual leaders to reflect on specific ways they are crafting and transforming Jewish ritual to reflect their own commitments and mobilize their communities. Panelists reflected on how they have used ritual to tap into Jewish traditions of liberation and transformation—and explored how the affective power of religious ritual can equip Jews and allies to deepen their embodied commitment to the work of racial justice. The conversation was moderated by Berkley Center Senior Research Fellow Julia Watts Belser.

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Center for Jewish Civilization; Department of Theology and Religious Studies; and Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service.

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