Current Initiatives:

Presented in partnership with Congregation Rodeph Sholom and the Meyerson JCC

A self-described “light-skinned Black Jew,” award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee has been forced to speak about race—including having to defend or define her own—since childhood. Join the author in conversation with journalist Mark Whitaker about her new book Speaking of Race: Why Everyone Needs to Talk about Racism—and How to Do It. This urgently needed guide draws on the latest research on bias, communication, and neuroscience and offers practical advice on how to have productive conversations that draw us closer together. The first 80 people to sign up will receive a copy of Speaking of Race.

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and author of We Need To Talk: How To Have Conversations That Matter, and Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving. An expert in conversation, human nature, reclaiming common humanity, and finding well-being, Celeste frequently provides insight on what is good for all humans and what is bad for us, focusing the best research in neuro and social science to increase understanding of how we relate with one another and can work together in beneficial ways in our workplaces, neighborhoods, communities, and homes. She is a regular guest host on NPR and American Public Media and a highly sought consultant, advising companies around the world on conversations about race, diversity, and inclusion. Her TEDx Talk sharing 10 ways to have a better conversation has over 26 million total views, and she serves as an advisory board member for ProCon.org and The Listen First Project. Celeste is recipient of the 2019 Media Changemaker Award.

Mark Whitaker is the former editor of Newsweek, Washington bureau chief of NBC News, and managing editor of CNN. He is also a critically-acclaimed author whose latest book, Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Renaissance, is about the remarkable influence of Black Pittsburgh on mid-20th century America. Mark and his wife Alexis Gelber have been part of the Congregation Rodeph Sholom community for more than 30 years.

Cosponsored by the Lambert Center for Arts + Ideas, The Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility.

Zoom link will be provided in your confirmation email.   https://mmjccm.org/programs/speaking-race-celeste-headlee-mark-whitaker?utm_source=Lambert&utm_medium=Email_111021&utm_campaign=CELESTEHEADLEE


Film Club  of Life Long Learning and Social Justice Combined Event

As part of of our Justice for All Series, we have obtained the rights for the film, Rosenwald, which reflects on the life of  Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant, who became the head of Sears Roebuck and built 5400 schools for African American communities in the early 1900’s.

 

The film is available for viewing from October 17-20th and Rabbi Sacks will led a discussion on October 20th at 7 PM with guest speaker, E. Ethelbert Miller

The link for the discussion is. Bet Torah Zoom Link

Link for watching the film is available once you register for the event.

 


T. Wise Programs for TLC and Parents:

Based on the success of teaching and interaction of a program presented to our 8th grade teens and parents  last year, we are bringing back T. Wise, who presented  Jewish Identity/White Identity: Privilege in 2021. We will reproduce this successful Zoom program for our current 8th graders on November 15th at 8:00 PM and follow up with our current 8th and 9th graders alone with educators and T. Wise on December 15th in an opportunity to process and brainstorm actionable steps based on the learning. This program is made possible by a grant for Racial Education and Awareness obtained from UJA.  If you have any questions please contact  youth@bettorah.org or Lizschon@aol.com.


May 2021

On the Anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, The Racial Justice Committee would like to share a review of what Bet Torah has done this year in response to this national reckoning with our history and the work we need to do:

1.Formed a Racial Justice Committee to help us educated ourselves and work towards racial equity with a Jewish prospective.

2.Participated in Interfaith Community Prayer Vigil June 2020 in Mount Kisco

3.Just Mercy film discussion June 2020

4. Be’chol Lashon Program on Jews of Color for Teens August 2020

5.I Am Not Your Negro film discussion with Rabbi Brusso and Reverend McJunkin of the Antioch Baptist Church October 2020

6.Awarded a $5,000 UJA grant to target Racial Justice Education at all levels of our Bet Torah community – January 2021. Nursery School used some of these funds to buy diverse baby dolls, family figures and new books.

7.ADL presentation Pursuing Justice as a Multiracial Jewish Community January 12,2021

8.Shared Legacies: The African American- Jewish Civil Rights Alliance county wide film discussion January 19, 2021

9.Film discussion of Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent February 24, 2021

10.Jews of Color: Personal Stories with Lindsey Newman and Hannah Sachs April 13, 2021

11.How to Talk to Your Young Child About Race – Dr. Oliver April 2021

12.Teen Discussion with T. Wise on Jewish Identity, White Identity, White Privilege May 2021

13.Workshops on Curriculum Development for Religious School and Family programming

14.UJA grant seminar on Racial Justice attended by teachers, parents and committee members

15.Bet Torah has formed a larger community initiative with 7 synagogues and 2 Churches to begin the dialogue on Racial Injustice issues

 

Please continue to check out the Social Action page of the Bet Torah website as we continue to plan meaningful engagement for our community,  to enrich our own understanding , promote dialogue and engage in racial justice work.


Upcoming Event Through USCJ:

Click HERE to register. 

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New York, NY 10027-4650
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Information on the Origin of Bet Torah’s Racial Justice Initiative.

Following the murder of George Floyd,  the Racial Justice Committee at Bet Torah was formed as an offshoot of the Social Justice Committee.  Its purpose is to educate our community on understanding and acknowledging the racial injustice that has been going on for many years and is systemic in much of American culture. In addition, the committee will work to guide us in finding ways to engage in anti-racist activities to fight that injustice.

James Baldwin, well known essayist on the subject of race in America,  once said “It isn’t a racial problem. It is a problem of whether or not you’re willing to look at your life and be responsible for it and then begin to change it”.   The question is why do some people choose to stand up?  It is time for us to decide if we will stand up and take action.

Bet Torah has joined with seven other synagogues in Northern Westchester as well as the New Castle Council for Racial Equity to fight injustice and start a dialogue with our communities of Color. At this point, two predominantly Black Churches have joined this initiative. This is just the beginning and we have much to do.

What can you do? Listen, Read, Watch films.

What else can you do?  Show Empathy. Take Action. Ask Questions. Join a Social Justice Organization. Learn the civil rights movement history.

If you have any questions or want to get involved, please contact Liz Schonfeld or any committee member: Margi Orell, Heidi Rieger, Sharon Pollack, Linda Dishner or Sarah and Jeremy Wien.

 

For more information, please contact Elaine Gloth Merker at socialjustice@bettorah.org or Liz Schonfeld at Lizschon@aol.com.