Four years ago, the DJC Board signed onto ‘No Silence on Race’ (NSOR), an initiative of Jews of Colour in Toronto. This group’s objective is to redress the issue of exclusion across Jewish communities in Toronto. By signing this document, the DJC Board was committing us to acknowledging and working against racism in our congregation. And an Antiracism Working Group was created, reporting to the Social Justice Committee. Since then, the work of this group has focused in on anti-Black racism. It has been inserted into the dialogue and actions of the DJC.
This past Chanukah the Social Justice Committee (SJC) was invited to dedicate a candle each of 7 nights to a social justice issue to which the DJC has committed. We led with our obligation to engage in Antiblack Racism and our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (‘JEDI’). Because, as Elie Wiesel has said “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest’.
And since there is always more to learn, to hear, to notice and to be curious about, see links below to the details of that candle lighting and the DJC perspective on Black Racism and our commitment to redressing this.
Links to resources:
Excerpts from introduction to Anti-Black Racism work presented at Chanukah
‘There is always more to learn, to hear, to notice and to be curious about. It is a journey. And this is why we are beginning with an invitation this Chanukah to see how, when and where Antiblack racism exists in each of us and in the DJC… consciously and unconsciously; in order to make our congregation… diverse and reflective… knowing that our differences make us richer, and more welcoming. This is justice, this is equity, this is diversity and inclusion. And as Elie Wiesel has said “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest’.
‘Let us remain curious about others and at the same time be respectful. Rabbi Hillel taught, that which is hateful to you, do not do, to your fellow. In our reflections we can think about the Black people in our workplaces, shul, schools and community organizations that are being pushed out, left behind and not included. How hateful is that to us who are Black. Slow down and see who is present but still not part of your conversation, who is there and speaking but not being heard. How and when will you speak up.’