International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2022 was the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The theme this year was “VOICES FOR ACTION AGAINST RACISM”. The Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group is committed to share upcoming learning opportunities and resources for our community to take action against racism. As such, we’ve compiled a variety of events and resources to check out below!

For this event, committee members engaged in meaningful discussions on actionable steps against racism within the Jewish community in Victoria at the final discussion in the series by Kolot Mayim called Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity in Jewish Life. A thought provoking and insightful discussion was led by Patricia Vickers & Rabbi Adam Cutler ‘Indigenous & Jewish Dialogue on Truth & Reconciliation’. In addition, members will be attending the events listed below. All are welcome to join us at these events or to attend our next meeting scheduled for April 18th at 6:30 pm, 2022. Please feel free to check out the most recent Koleinu for more details on our commitments and actions.  Please feel free to email vicepresident@congregationemanuel.ca if you have any questions or concerns.

Books:

  • Coconut Dreams – by Derek Mascarenhas
  • Night of Power – by Anar Ali
  • The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives edited by Roger Maaka, Chris Andersen

Links:

LISTEN

Podcasts to subscribe to:

ACT (Things you can do)


Documentary Film Screening with Sara Yacobi-Harris and Tema Smith

The Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group and Adult Education are proud to present a screening of a new documentary that centers the perspectives and experiences of multiracial and multiethnic Jewish people.

Join director and producer Sara Yacobi-Harris, founder of No Silence on Race, and documentary participant Tema Smith, Director of Jewish Outreach & Partnerships at the Anti-Defamation League and a contributing columnist at The Forward, for a special Zoom screening followed by a Q+A.

Yacobi-Harris’ 27-minute short film challenges the dominant white  Ashkenazi narratives of Canadian Jewry, offers opportunities to consider identities, representations, and intersectionality, and inspires us to actively work to ensure that our Jewish communities are places of true belonging.

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/zOiYC_jZkx0


Summary of event details

Follow up on the First Antiracist & Equity Working Group Event!

Thanks everyone who joined the learning opportunity, “Let’s talk about Diversity, Equity and Belonging in the Victoria Jewish Community!” last month.

If you missed it, you can watch the Zoom recording online.

Below, you will find a summary of the event, learning resources and a notification of an upcoming event.


Held by the Antiracism & Equity Working Group in partnership with Adult Education, the workshop was an excellent dialogue with presenters Carmel Tanaka (JQT Vancouver) and Sara Yacobi-Harris (No Silence On Race), who shared their rich collaborative work and vast expertise with us.

Carmel introduced the BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project and Sara provided information on the short documentary Periphery* that shares the narratives of multiracial and multiethnic Jewish people. Both Carmel and Sara have worked with many Jewish communities and organizations. They discussed some considerations about meaningful allyship, what’s working in Jewish communities, and how communities can be more responsive in cultivating belonging and representation. 

*Stay tuned for an upcoming screening and discussion of Periphery on March 20th, 2022!

Periphery: a short documentary produced by Ontario Jewish Archives & No Silence on Race

“Sharing narratives from individuals of multiracial and multiethnic backgrounds, Periphery creates space to look, listen, and learn from participants as they share their experiences and explore ideas of representation, intersectionality, ethnicity, race, and sexuality. Periphery also draws our attention inwards and invites us to examine how we foster and support a broader and richer view of the Jewish community.”

The BC Jewish, Queer & Trans project

The project aims “to learn from the stories of Jewish queer and trans elders and their lived experiences in Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities across BC over the decades” and to create an online exhibit “to feature content from the stories and develop a timeline of Jewish queer and trans activity in this province, starting as far back as we can gather data until present day.” 

Learning Resources

Join Us!

To reach out to the Antiracism & Equity Working Group, please contact us!: vicepresident@congregationemanuel.ca

People are encouraged to join this work in whatever time/energy you choose, and/or to provide any insights and feedback!

Update from the Anti-racism & Equity Working Group

To date, we’ve participated in two multi-part online Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training opportunities offered by the Union of Reform Judaism. The training bolsters understanding of key issues related to anti-racism and equity and provides a roadmap for action on these issues within Jewish communities. As a result of the training, we will be looking to ensure that the group membership is representative of the rich, diverse and multiple identities of the community, including:  Jews of colour,  Jews with disabilities,  LGBTQ+ Jews, Jews in interfaith relationships and Jewish adjacent people (people who are not Jewish but are in families or relationships with Jewish people), teens, Jews by choice, working class people, singles, new members of our community, single parents, people new to Judaism, people who do not have or do not plan on having children, and people who only come to our community a couple times of year.


If you identify with any or several of the categories above and are open to considering joining us in whatever capacity you have time and energy for, please email Ilana and Willow at vicepresident@congregationemanuel.ca

Beyond our own ongoing training, we’ve identified the principal goals of providing educational opportunities for the community over the coming year, as well as cultivating relationships with Jewish communities and individuals engaged in similar work in different contexts. Stay tuned for excellent trainings and education coming your way.

Update: Antiracism & Equity Working Group

The Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group met on July 9, 2021. The members are looking forward to taking part in the upcoming Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) online 4-part Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Community Training Series: How to create a DEI Working Group & Assess Our Community DEI Efforts. The sessions will be held from 5 to 6:30 pm PT on Wednesdays—July 28, August 4, 11, and 18, 2021. There is no cost.

We hope others will join in, and specifically, that we can bring together at Emanu-El as representative a group as possible with respect to race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, ability, Jewish background, and more. Have any questions? Interested in joining us? Please email Ilana at vicepresident@congregationemanuel.ca.

Stay tuned for a special Emanu-El community facilitated workshop later this fall.

Update: Antiracism & Equity Working Group

We began our third meeting by recognizing the profound grief, loss and reckoning following the murder of a Muslim family in London, Ontario, and the disturbing discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We also discussed what the calls from Indigenous communities and leaders for responsibility and accountability mean for our work. Please see the links below: for a letter from Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc on how to support that First Nations Government, interviews with Indigenous leaders, and the Indigenous organizations accepting contributions.

We attended the Union for Reform Judaism’s fantastic three-part REDI (Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) series covering how to intentionally build Jewish communities of belonging, to deepen understanding of identities, biases, and much more. We are happy to share the wonderful resources we received, so please reach out if interested! 

We will attend their next 4-part Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Community Training Series: How to create a DEI Working Group & Assess Our Community DEI Efforts on July 28, August 4, 11, and 18, 2021. We welcome anyone interested to sign up and join us! You can register and see the training series description here: https://urj.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZctf-qoqDMsGNBo6nwqk8khKQPpBnprjtU9

Stay tuned for the first community event that we are planning for October, after the High Holy Days.

The group’s fourth meeting will be on Thursday July 8, 2021 from 6:30 – 8 pm. Please contact the office for more information and the meeting Zoom link.

Links:
 
How to support Tḱemlúps te Secwepemchttps://tkemlups.ca/wp-content/uploads/How-to-Support-TteS-June-3-2021-v2.pdf
 
Two excellent interviews on CBC’s The Current with Indigenous leaders Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director at the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and Murray Sinclair, former Canadian Senator and former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-63-the-current/clip/15846185-calls-accountability-remains-215-children-found-former-kamloops
https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-63-the-current/clip/15847022-murray-sinclair-deaths-children-residential-schools-helping-survivors
 
Indigenous organizations accepting contributions

From our Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group

The Congregation Emanu-El Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group held their second meeting on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Considerable time was spent discussing what is happening in Israel and Gaza, and Rabbi Harry’s email on the recent events. The group addressed the importance of having space to unpack in ‘real-time’ what is taking place, and how to support critical learning opportunities. In this connection, the group began refining their scope and mandate, and focused on education.
 
As a next step, the group plans to participate in the three-part REDI (Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) series, “focused on helping participants to start building stronger communities and transform the ways in which our institutions create meaningful Jewish experiences for people of all backgrounds” offered by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
 
The first session will occur on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 5 pm PST with the other sessions on the following two Thursdays—spanning May 23 to 29, 2021, which is “Anti-Racism Awareness Week” in the Province of British Columbia. This training is open to anyone, and free of charge. We encourage everyone to participate! Please click here  to register…
 
The Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group will next meet on Thursday, June 10, from 6:30 – 8 pm. Everyone is welcome. Please email the office for the Zoom link.
 
“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work,  but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.“-Rabbi Tarfon (in Paul Kivel’s Uprooting Racism 1996).

Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group Update

We are happy to announce that the Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group held its first meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. We have identified ourselves as a “working” group because we recognize that receiving an ongoing anti-racism and equity mandate requires evidence that we are committed to learning and action.

Our first meeting was welcoming and generative, as it was framed around the anti-racism panel the community held last July, and the basis proposed for taking action in Jewish communities was grounded in the pillars put forth by No Silence on Race (https://www.nosilenceonrace.ca/). We had a lively discussion centred on our individual perspectives, our entry points into anti-racism and equity work, our future educational goals, and our desire for events and resources that would galvanize the cultivation of a sustainable, textured, and equitable Jewish community.

We identified several specific initiatives that we anticipate concretizing and sharing with the broader community in the future. The first chapter of Rabbi Jill Jacobs’ (2011) text, Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community was shared as a follow up reading (please email us if you want a copy).

Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 6-7 pm on Zoom. All are welcome. If interested, please contact the Office to get on our email list, and receive our Zoom link.

Emanu-El creates Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group

Congregation Emanu-El is proud to announce the creation of an Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group. Interested in joining?
Jewish communities across Canada are being called on to take action and accountability for addressing racism and inequity within and outside Jewish communities (https://www.nosilenceonrace.ca/). On July 28th, 2020, Congregation Emanu-El held a virtual panel titled, “Racism: Understanding the Realities and What We Can Do.” Building on the ideas and discussion brought forward during the panel, we are inviting folks to join the Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group. The group is being proposed as a space in which to learn and organize around what sustainable and meaningful antiracist and equity-based learning and initiatives can look like in our community.
It is hoped that folks who are interested in participating in the group and committed to this work are open to new and different ways of knowing and willing to challenge existing beliefs and assumptions. It is an exciting initiative that we aim to get started with an initial meeting in Feb/March 2021. Please contact Willow (willowallen@gmail.com) or Ilana (ilanasr@gmail.com) if you are interested in joining, and/or if you have any questions or suggestions!