Congregation Beth Israel has established an Antiracism Task Force to ensure that we are a community deeply rooted in diversity, equity and justice.


In recognition of a growing awareness of racism in America and a profound desire to affect positive change, a number of Congregation Beth Israel members reached out to clergy and leadership to explore a role in CBI’s response to racism.  

The Antiracism Task Force is led by a working group of individuals representative of leadership from throughout the CBI community. Members of the task force include individuals from the clergy, the board of trustees and a variety of committee chairs.  The overall purpose of this task force is to create a mechanism to strengthen our community as we engage in education, self-reflection, advocacy and personal growth around issues of racial equity.  The process and content of our work will evolve over time and incorporate the input from and engage the participation and needs of the larger CBI community.

To accomplish these goals we will:

Educate: We strive to educate ourselves and the larger CBI community about racial inequity, we will learn from each other as well as from leaders of color within the Reform Jewish Movement.  Educational opportunities will be disseminated thru Adult Education as well as a number of other committees and made available to the larger CBI community.

Open a dialogue: To accomplish this, we have partnered with GHIAA (the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance) and work with antiracism trainers.  We will learn effective communication strategies to ensure we maintain a welcoming and respectful space to engage in frank conversations about race.  Antiracism training will be offered to task force members as well as those interested among the larger CBI community. 

Open barriers: We are utilizing the Union for Reform Judaism’s Audacious Hospitality Community Assessment Tool and associated resources and work to find opportunities to create an even more open and inclusive environment.

Participate: Support CORE team sanctioned GHIAA racial initiatives as well as national advocacy efforts on racial justice identified by the Union for Reform Judaism and the Religious Action Center or others.

It is important to keep in mind this is an evolving process.  We will make missteps along the way.  We ask for your patience.  We welcome your input and we ask for your engagement in this sacred work. 

Resources 

Union for Reform Judaism’s Audacious Hospitality site
https://urj.org/what-we-do/audacious-hospitality
This website offers numerous internal links and offerings such as Resources, Disability Inclusion Learning Center, and an Introduction to Judaism/A Taste of Judaism offerings. 

Jewish Racial Justice Resources page from the Jewish Racial Justice Roundtable Organization
https://jewishsocialjustice.org/jewish-racial-justice-resources  
The page is replete with a ton of great learning opportunities and self-study material. 

Videos

The ADL’s Fighting Hate from Home: Fighting Racism as a Multiracial Jewish Community

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhxEuKGDtz0&list=PLEPACLR6xldqDzHj4dkQb-HSizqdgWtiJ&index=15&t=0s

From Ibram X. Kendi, a roundtable discussion entitled The Difference between being not racist and antiracist
https://www.ted.com/talks/ibram_x_kendi_the_difference_between_being_not_racist_and_antiracist?language=en

Interview of April Baskin, who is the Racial Justice Director for the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (bio here). She was interviewed by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, President & Dean of Valley Beit Midrash
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD3Zfr5jBzw

A TEDX talk by Verna Myers (bio here) entitled How to Overcome our Biases and Walk Boldly Toward Them https://www.ted.com/talks/verna_myers_how_to_overcome_our_biases_walk_boldly_toward_them?

Upcoming Events

GREATER HARTFORD INTERFAITH ACTION ALLIANCE MEETS WITH THE LEGISLATURE

Thursday, November 12 at 7:00pm
Join the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA) virtually as we engage with our CT legislators and Governor Lamont to commit to working with us in this legislative session to:
1. Repeal Welfare Liens
2. Pass Clean Slate Legislation, and
3. Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis.

Click HERE to register for this virtual event.
We were thrilled to get support on these issues from our state representatives and senators a year ago at the energizing GHIAA founding and are ready to get back to work with them in anticipation of a full legislative session around the corner.
For more information on the issues listed above here are a couple starting points:
Welfare Liens: http://cljct.org/housing
Clean Slate: http://cljct.org/criminal-justice-reform/

Anti-Racism Task Force members:
Rabbi Andi Fliegel, Co-Chairperson
Susan Levine, Co-Chairperson
Lisa Book
Juliann Harris
Michael Honor
Jennifer Mailly
Jay Sicklick
Jane Zande   

Questions?
Contact Rabbi Fliegel at afliegel@cbict.org
Susan Levine at sflevine1@gmail.com
Jay Sicklick at jsicklick@comcast.net