“More recently, we have done a much better job at being radically welcoming ... recognizing the need to not just be welcoming by default, but by action and statements.” ~Rabbi Jennie Chabon
Congregation B’nai Tikvah is a loving and compassionate community that values inclusiveness and a sense of belonging for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, marital status, disability, Jew-by-choice, Jew-by-birth or Jewish adjacent.
Led by Rabbi Jennie Chabon, our community has started having difficult and honest conversations, exploring racial equity and racial justice both individually and as a community. These conversations serve to guide us in the present and transform our future. We have begun a long-term exploration to understand where we currently stand, what actions we need to take, and who we hope to become.
In her courageous and moving sermon on Rosh Hashanah last year, Rabbi Chabon set the stage for a year beginning with self-exploration and tough truths. “Friends, we are in a time of unprecedented, uncomfortable, catastrophic instability,” Rabbi Chabon began, “the likes of which none of us has ever experienced before…It is a period of tremendous uncertainty and change…but what else is also being birthed at this time?” Her words form both the foundation upon which our racial justice work stands, as well as the launching pad for where our vision and dreams will take us.
In her sermon she called on us to examine our white privilege and to learn from our efforts and success with the LGBTQ community: “More recently, we have done a much better job at being radically welcoming to queer people and families, recognizing the need to not just be welcoming by default, but by action and statements.” Her passion and her guidance in this area were brought to the community in this simple yet strong message: “You are welcome here, no matter who you are or who you love.” You can watch her sermon in its entirety here:
Staff and congregants have begun addressing this by attending a myriad of educational workshops and trainings, reading relevant books, inviting guest speakers and engaging in critical conversations. A working Racial Justice Caucus group is focusing on creating a mission statement and planning concrete steps for the larger congregation to be included in this work to achieve our community goals. If you are interested in getting involved in this work, please reach out to Rabbi Chabon (firstname.lastname@example.org). We would love to have you on the journey with us.