TBI Not Free to Desist Task Force

Not Free to Desist (NFTD) re-imagines our collective Jewish covenant, centering racial justice and equity.

NFTD envisions a world in which all Jewish institutions and funders make a commitment to the concrete racial justice goals as outlined in the seven obligations of the Not Free to Desist letter. With a guiding focus of centering Jews of color in the work, and a commitment to anti-racist policies and practices, NFTD seeks to help organizations achieve long-term structural change and a more just allocation of resources.

»  Learn more about the national movement

»  Read July 2020 message from TBI’s president

Personal exploration and teshuva/ Racial Equity Challenge: Confessions of the Heart

This challenge was originally framed around the Jewish High Holy Days, we hope you’ll find it to be a soul-stretching journey no matter when you begin or how long it takes you to complete. It invites you to engage in a regimen of readings, videos, podcasts and calls to action that will open your hearts and deepen your practice of dismantling racism.

»  Read more about Confessions of the Heart

In our world today, it is vitally important to build a truly multiracial, anti-racist Jewish community in which BIPOC Jews experience belonging as leaders and community members. To do so requires understanding BIPOC experiences, educating ourselves about the current issues relating to Jews of Color, racism and anti-racism, and equity and inclusion in our community as well as across U.S. Jewish communities.

As indicated by the Reconstructing Judaism movement: “In looking at ourselves critically, we want to both acknowledge the presence and contributions of Jews of Color over time and to begin to remedy their relative omission from our histories, rituals, cultural expressions and concerns. BIPOC Jews should be part of our leadership and our board, our staff, our rabbis and rabbinical students, our lay leaders and congregants.

The following links can help us open the doors to knowledge and repair. They represent only a few of the voices and you can find more through your own search.

»  US Jews of Color reveal experiences, struggles in new study Jerusalem Post, August 12, 2021

»  The survey: Beyond the Count can be found on the Jews of Color Initiative website

»  The Changing Face of Jewish Identity: Inside, Outside, and Other, by Yavilah McCoy, 2003

»  An ongoing series in the Forward, “In Jewish Color”

»  Who We Are: Identity and Diversity in Our Jewish Community, Ginna Green in conversation with Dr. Harriette Wimms, October 18, 2020

»  As a Black Queer Jew, I Can Acknowledge My Privilege. So Can You, by Aviva Davis,

»  ‘We simply feel forgotten about:’ 9 Asian American Jews speak, by

»  This Is What Jewish Looks Like, Rebbeca Walker and Avashai Mekonen (videos on other topics from Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center)

The following are a few resources including organizations, articles, books and digital materials  that can provide serve sources for congregations and other institutions to continue the work of embracing diversity in our communities. The Religious Action website provides more in depth information.

Hashivenu: a podcast about Jewish teachings and practice around resilience. Cultivating resilience in challenging times, both individually and collectively, is an essential path to personal renewal. Season 4 (Focus on Racial Justice).

»  Listen to the podcast

Jews, Race and Religion Lecture series: This series uses the prism of Jewish experience to examine intersections of race and religion, drawing lessons from the history of antisemitism, examining the role of Jews in the racialized culture of the United States, and exploring the impact of race on Jewish experience.

»  Watch on YouTube

Resources from the Jews of Color Initiative: This is a resource list that includes topics such as networks, articles and essays, videos and blogs, fundraising resources.

»  View resource list

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice: Jews for Racial & Economic Justice is home to New York’s Jewish Left.

»  Learn about the organization

The following resources can provide anti-racist holiday lessons and resources that can help us in our efforts to be affirming, reflective, and critical about how we approach and celebrate holidays.

Not Free to Desist Resources: These are from the 2020 resource list of the Not Free to Desist Website. Each holiday is an opportunity to reflect and inquire about teachings, traditions and beliefs. These contemporary versions of classic rituals are intended to provide inspiration and meaningful reflection. They can be used at any time:

»  View holiday resources

Jews of Color High Holy Day Resources

»  View High Holy Day Resources

Jews of Color Passover Resources

»  View Passover resources

Jews Of Color Initiative Juneteenth Resources

»  View Juneteenth resources

Reconstructing Judaism: Day of Learning on Reparations

The Torah’s Case for Reparations
Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein

The biblical narrative of the Exodus from slavery understands the reparations taken by the Israelites to be an essential part of our redemption from servitude. This session presents a Jewish argument for supporting reparations for descendants of slaves in the United States, based on the Jewish archetype of liberation. Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein is Avodah’s National Educator

»  Watch session here

»  Further Reading link is broken

Sitting at the Welcome Table: A Conversation on Reparations
Lazora Jordan, LMSW & co-presenter

What would it mean for government institutions in the United States to give out reparations? Where does the call for reparations to African Americans come from? How can a Jewish theology of collective accountability guide us in our exploration? Join us for a conversation where we explore these questions and more.

»  Watch the session

»  Further Reading

Jewish Communities Practicing Reparations in Our Day
Faryn Borella and Koach Baruch Frazier

This session presents three case studies of contemporary, intentional Jewish communities practicing reparations as an expression of their Jewish values in action. Faryn and Koach are both rabbinical students at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

»  Watch the session

»  Further reading

20 Books by Black Jewish Authors You Should Read: From memoirs and novels to poetry and YA, these authors deserve your attention as part of your ongoing reading practice (Alma 2020)

»  See the 20 books

9 writers who perfectly capture what it’s like for Jews of color: A list of books all written by Jews of color or featuring Jews of color. Some of the stories here aren’t explicitly Jewish, however these writers remain unequivocally and deeply Jewish. (Jewish News of Northern California).

»  See the 9 writers

Want more info?
If you’d like more information, or would like to get involved, please contact TBI member Geraldine Moreno-Black.