The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Racial Justice and Jewish Values
In the Torah, Jews are taught to accept others, without prejudice or bias. The Torah states "You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kinsman, but incur no guilt because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the Eternal" (Leviticus 19: 17-18).
In the Talmud, we learn that all people are descendants from a single person so that no person can say, "my ancestor is greater than yours." God created humanity from the four corners of the earth - yellow clay, and white sand, black loam and red soil. Therefore, the earth can declare to no part of humanity that it does not belong here, that this soil is not their rightful home.
Judaism also teaches the importance of working with others in the community to achieve social justice. We are taught that "in a city where there are both Jews and Gentile, the collectors of alms collect from both Jews and Gentiles; they feed the poor of both, visit the sick of both; bury both and restore the lost goods of both, for the sake of peace" (Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Demai).
REFORM MOVEMENT RESOLUTIONS
Racial Justice and Black-Jewish Relations
The history of cooperation between the Jewish communities pre-dates the Civil Rights Movement and continues today. The RAC continues to work on significant civil rights legislation and other issues of concern to both the African-American and Jewish communities.
In the past few decades the perception that this partnership no longer exists, that it is an historical artifact, has permeated American popular culture. However, the RAC has been at the center of more events in the name of Black-Jewish relations than almost any other issue. Although there is always the chance of problems in the interactions between individuals in the two communities, cooperation exists at the local and national level on all issues that have an impact, directly and/or indirectly, on black Americans and Jews. The two communities work together in leading the fight on several issues, including welfare, economic justice, affirmative action, reproductive rights and gay/lesbian issues.
Through funding from the Marjorie Kovler Institute for Black-Jewish Relations, the Union of Reform Judaism and the NAACP have worked together to develop resources to assist those working to develop greater understanding between Jews and African Americans, including The Common Road to Justice: A Programming Manual for Blacks and Jews and The Common Road to Freedom: A Passover Haggadah. Both items are available from the Religious Action Center. In addition, the RAC gives the Civil Rights Leadership Award every other year in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
Recently, the Union for Reform Judaism has launched a movement-wide campaign on racial justice. Structured around the three "R's" - reflect, relate and reform - the campaign aims to increase education about racial diversity and injustice in the United States and within Reform Jewish congregations, to foster stronger community relationships across lines of race and to promote advocacy on behalf of policies that mitigate racial inequality.
Resolutions on Racial Justice Black-Jewish Relations
The Union and the CCAR have both passed resolutions in support of racial justice and in the interest of improving Black-Jewish Relations.
Union of Reform Judaism
Native-American Issues & Jewish Relations
The Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Commission on Social Action have a number of resolutions on Native American issues, specifically focusing on religious rights, civil rights, and tribal sovereignty.
Union for Reform Judaism
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Latino-Jewish Relations from the Central Conference of American Rabbis