DC Jewish Anti-Racism

CRD-1 Jewish members belong primarily to three congregations within Washington DC. Additional national and local links on Jews and Anti-Racist work below.

Hill Havurah (Northeast, Washington DC)

Hill Havurah has recently established a Racial Justice Task Force and used high holidays of 5781 (fall 2020) to focus on racial justice issues in several ways.

Here is Rabbi Hannah Spiro’s sermon on racial justice and rebuke —

Here is the Selichot Sources: Toward Anti-Racism supplement used for the holidays and beyond.

New Synagogue Project (Northwest, Washington DC)

New Synagogue Project — only a few years old, as the name might suggest — was founded to include a Jews of Color Space. In addition, NSP attempts to include racial justice in all decision-making: for example, choosing to rent, thus supporting older Black institutions in the neighborhood (Israel Metropolitan CME Church and First Baptist Church of Petworth), rather than buying space and contributing to displacement of Black residents.

Holiday programming often focuses on anti-racism: a Purim party supporting Black Lives Matter DC’s Official Cop Watch Team, e.g., and 2020 Elul Queer Talmud Study on Reparations. Rabbi Joseph Berman’s 2019 high holiday sermon focused on shifting visions of the “mixed multitude” within Judaism (stories behind paywalls; sorry). Regular activities include teaching on prison abolition and re-envisioning safety.

Envisioning Prison Abolition, 1/20/20, program in conjunction with Black Youth Project 100.

Temple Micah (Northwest, Washington DC)

Temple Micah has been promoting various kinds of learning around anti-racism and established an affinity group for Black, Indigenous, and Jews of Color over the summer of 2020.

Here is information about the Yom Kippur program, “American Atonement for Racism,” with Professor Eddie Glaude, author of Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

Here is the program itself —

See also Svara: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva (linked to NSP), which has been learning and teaching around anti-racism. Here, e.g., is a teaching on a “Theology of Abolition.”

We also recommend, connecting with the following organizations of Jews of Color:

Ammud: JOC Torah Academy — https://www.ammud.org/

Bechol Lashon — https://globaljews.org/

Edot HaMidwest: Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative https://edotmidwest.org/

Jews in ALL Hues — https://upstartlab.org/innovator/jews-in-all-hues/

Jews of Color Field Building Initiative — https://jewsofcolorinitiative.org/

Jewish Multiracial Network — https://www.jewishmultiracialnetwork.org/

And these, some of the many Jewish organizations doing some anti-racist work:

Jewish Emergent Network — http://www.jewishemergentnetwork.org/

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice — http://jfrej.org

Jews United for Justice-Baltimore — https://jufj.org/where-we-work/baltimore-md/

Multiracial Sinai Committee, Temple Sinai (DC) — https://templesinaidc.org/multiracial-sinai/

Tikkun Olam/Social Action Team, Adas Israel (DC) — https://www.adasisrael.org/socialaction

Uri L’Tzedek — http://utzedek.org/


CRD-1 was founded, in large part, because of charges, and counter-charges, around antisemitism and racism within the local political scene. We have grappled, over our time together, with the weaponization of antisemitism in the national scene: the firing of Professor Marc Lamont Hill (late 2018), the case of Angela Davis and her award then un-award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Jan 2019), and attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar (Feb 2019), for example. We clashed, in the summer of 2019, with DC’s Office of Human Rights over its “Jews and Allies” program.

More on all the above is forthcoming. Meanwhile, we have no clear recommendations on resources regarding these complex, and regularly divisive, issues.

We’ve studied historical issues, like blood libel — and applied those to our local work.

We’ve discussed the lack of support from Jewish communities — locally and nationally — for responses to white supremacist threats. See, e.g., Charlottesville, DC, and Jewish Responsibility.

DC Gatherings in Solidarity: Tree of Life Synagogue, 10/28 and 10/29 (and 10/27)

3 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific
Mourning and Healing in the Times of White Supremacy with Rabbi Margaret Holub
Register here.

SUNDAY, October 28 — 3 p.m.
White House
“National Solidarity Rally with Pittsburgh and Jewish Communities”
Facebook Event

SUNDAY, October 28 — 5 p.m. DC Community Minyan
Dupont Circle. Facebook link
Sponsored by New Synagogue Project and IfNotNow DC
Jewish prayers, open to people of all faiths, races, genders, and other identities. Followed by interfaith gathering (next)

SUNDAY, October 28 6-8 Interfaith Solidarity Gathering
Facebook link
Sponsored by New Synagogue Project and IfNotNow DC, Justice for Muslims Collective, March for Racial Justice

Facebook statement:
“During Shabbat morning prayers on Saturday, October 27, a gunman walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and killed eleven people, injuring many more.

“This Sunday at 6pm at Dupont Circle, Jews and allies will join together to mourn those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Dor Hadash, and New Light congregations. We know that the path to safety for all is in building joint struggles for justice and showing up to protect and defend one another from all forms of supremacy, racism, and bigotry.

“As a community, we re-commit ourselves to do the hard, but critical work of building power together for our collective movements to erase antisemitism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, imperialism, transphobia, ableism, and all other forms of state and institutional violence which put our communities in danger.

“May the memories of those we lost be a blessing.”

MONDAY, October 29. Community Service and Solidarity Gathering
Adas Israel, 2850 Quebec Street, NW
6:30 p.m.
Adas Calendar link
hosted by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington

PLEASE ADVISE of any additional DC gatherings.

Also, fyi: events on October 27

Mosaic Theater Company, vigil 8 p.m.
“Vigil for the 11 killed this morning at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh — along with the two black elders killed on Wednesday in racist incident in Louisville — held prior to performance of “The Agitators” by Mosaic Theater Company, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE.
Performance also concluded with songs led by “The Agitators” performers.

Havdalah and Vigil
Lafayette Square, 8 p.m.

“This morning, a gunman walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat prayers this morning and killed several people, injuring many more.

“Tonight, we will gather in mourning, in outrage, in community, as Jews and allies, to hold each other in this moment. May the memories of those lost be a blessing.

“We will gather at 8pm after Shabbat ends.

Vigil for Tree of Life
Capitol Reflecting Pool. 7:30 p.m.

“In light of the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we will gather for a vigil to pray for the memory of the victims and for the swift recovery of those injured, and for the first responders. This is not political, not about policies, just about being together to pray for those we’ve lost. To also note, no open flames on Capitol Grounds, but we’ll make do.”