Black Jewish Solidarity Panel Leads Community Discussion


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Organized by SOMA Justice and Temple Sharey-Tefilo Israel, the Black-Jewish Solidarity Art Tour, Panel, & Community Discussion was attended by nearly 80 people. The first part of the event was a guided tour of TSTI's civil rights art exhibit with curator Armisey Smith. The artwork in the gallery is by African American and African diasporic artists that interprets their concepts of America’s civil rights history and the black experience in this country. 

Following the art tour, attendees heard a panel discussion moderated by Professor Mia Charlene White (Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the Environmental Studies Program at the Schools of Public Engagement). The panelists included Yehudah Webster, a community organizer who works to inspire and empower the Jewish community to commit to racial justice and make space for Jews of Color (JOC), and Rachel Eskin Fisher, the founding director of the Genealogy Institute at CJH and producer of the documentary films Remembering Oswiecim and Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent

The panel addressed questions related to the issue of Black - Jewish solidarity: the needs, the benefits, and the obstacles. Both panelists noted that racism, anti-semitism, white supremacy, and white nationalism all take advantage of the mistrust that emerges between oppressed groups. In order to move beyond the privileging of whiteness that is deep within our subconscious, we must move out of our comfort levels. White people especially should seek discomfort in order to challenge norms that are based on white privilege. 

The audience sat at tables with discussion facilitators. They spent time sharing personal stories and then addressed the issues posed by the panel in order to develop communal action steps for SOMA. Some of the suggestions included:

  • Provide more opportunities for relationship building
  • Share our stories
  • Work with the faith communities to bring churches and synagogues together for learning and relationship building
  • Help people to understand their feelings about race
  • Work with the schools for racial equity


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