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S.E.A. CHANGE: Racial equity roundtable

study · engage · act · change

presented by B’nai Israel Congregation & Washington Hebrew Congregation
in partnership with JOIN For Justice

B’nai Israel and Washington Hebrew, two of the most prominent Jewish congregations in the nation, both located in the suburbs of Washington DC, from the Reform and the Conservative movements, will engage our communities in meaningful conversations, critical education and collective action to address racial inequity internally and in the broader community. We will create a model for serving as a unified Jewish voice amplifying that our values compel us to respond to the call for Civil Rights at this moment in our nation’s history.

A committed cohort of 50 individuals, half from each congregation, will study and engage together to act as change agents within our congregations and beyond. Participants will consider historical and current inequalities in our community and our country, learn how to identify the areas of racial justice work that are priorities for their respective congregational communities, and develop the tools to galvanize their communities to work together to realize their vision.

Specifically, this initiative will:
  • Create a cultural shift in the congregations that changes the atmosphere and systems around racial justice. Develop the institutions to actualize and operationalize racial equity as a priority.
  • Equip cohort members to understand the underpinning foundations of racial inequity in the U.S. and specifically in Montgomery County.
  • Help synagogue leadership teams identify and cultivate new and current leaders to shape and own this body of work in the congregations.
  • Build the foundation for the congregations to grapple with issues of diversity and equity within their memberships and workplaces.
  • Lay the groundwork for new and existing leaders to work side by side with communities of color to address racial inequity issues.
  • Equip congregants, leaders and clergy of the two synagogues to publicly express in new ways their Jewish values and work respectfully and effectively with partner/s across lines of racial and other differences. 
Phase 1 – led by JOIN For Justice

November 2020 to March 2021
Learning Forum comprised of six online training sessions covering topics ranging from relationship building to educational components on race and racial equity, plus three additional smaller group discussion sessions.

Every effort will be made to adhere to the schedule below; however due to unforeseen circumstances, sessions may occasionally need to be rescheduled.

All sessions will take place from 7:00-9:00 PM via Zoom

Session 1: November 4, 2020
Session 2: November 15, 2020
Session 3: December 3, 2020
Session 4: December 15, 2020
Session 5: January 7, 2021
Session 6: January 18, 2021
Session 7: February 9, 2021
Session 8: February 22, 2021
Session 9: March 3, 2021

March to May 2021
Training and support for a Congregational engagement campaign to uncover fellow congregants’ stories, identify the areas of interest and visions for racial equity in our communities and beyond.

May to July 2021
Supported training and coaching toward action on identified initiatives. Development of Action teams to address internal and external change.

Phase 2 

Summer 2021
Building a plan to integrate the Action Teams’ work into the synagogue community and calendar. 

Fall 2021 and beyond
Continued engagement in ongoing initiatives, providing leadership and advisement to facilitate ongoing efforts.

Participant Expectations

Phase 1

  • Participate in all educational sessions and trainings
  • Show up prepared, having read, listened to or viewed any preparatory materials
  • Be willing to engage humbly, relationally and creatively
  • Remain open to facing issues that may be uncomfortable 
  • Maintain respect for diverse experiences at all times

Phase 2

  • Lead or advise a synagogue action team
  • Remain available as a synagogue resource and share expertise throughout the synagogue
  • Engage with emerging joint work between our communities and local communities of color around issues of systemic racism in the region
About JOIN For Justice

The Jewish Organizing Institute & Network (JOIN) is building a powerful field of Jewish leaders capable of effectively organizing for justice, both inside and outside Jewish communities in the US. We organize because, in the words of Emma Lazarus, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free”—our destinies are bound up as one. JOIN offers a range of consulting and training services to strengthen the leadership and organizing skills of individuals, institutions, and coalitions across the country. 

Click here to apply


Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784