Want to be an antiracist white Jew?
Come learn & practice talking about whiteness, privilege, antisemitism, white nationalism and Jewish ethics with white Ashkenazi facilitators from the
Jewish Bridge Project
What is this Jewish Justice Circle: Awakening to Whiteness (JJC A2W)?
Using the Jewish values of “Tikkun Olam, Repairing The World,” and deep reflective inquiry, this project aspires to build a bridge to transformational anti-racist engagement. The Jewish Bridge Project offers this Jewish Justice Circle: Awakening to Whiteness (JJC A2W) as a guided process for white Jewish people in exploring whiteness and privilege in the US today. The course facilitates a practice of undoing racism at personal, institutional, and structural levels. The curriculum focuses on teaching historical context, honoring personal (ancestral, somatic, emotional, spiritual) experience, defining common terms within the Jewish justice ethic, and exploring the interplay of antisemitism, racism, and white nationalism both within our Jewish institutions and in the U.S. at large. The Jewish Bridge Project embraces the wisdom that living in a less brutal and racist culture benefits all members of society.
Who is this class for?
As taught by Racial Equity tools “to advance racial equity, there is work for white people and people of color to do separately and together. For white people, a caucus provides time and space to work explicitly and intentionally on understanding white culture and white privilege and to increase one’s critical analysis around these concepts. A white caucus also puts the onus on white people to teach each other about these ideas, rather than placing a burden on people of color to teach them.” This circle is designed for people who identify as Jewish and appear white. That said, others who want to explore race privilege in a Jewish context, either Jewish and not white or not Jewish and white, are welcome to apply. This course is created with specific attention to understanding antisemitism, confronting white dominance in Jewish history in the United States, and exploring what’s it like to be a Jewish person in a mostly Christian country. We highly encourage signing up for this workshop with a friend/co-worker/partner, or in a small team.
Is there homework?
Yes! Before the first session, we ask all members of the circle to watch the three-part PBS series Race: The Power of an Illusion. Each week, there will be a mix of articles, videos and podcasts to engage in preparation for the week’s gathering alongside the request that some of that be processed with a study buddy / accountability partner / chevruta. We provide materials in a variety of mediums to hopefully meet the needs of different learning styles.
8 x 3-hour Sessions? That seems like a lot!
It is! There is so much complexity of history, culture, and spirit in an honest exploration of racism in the United States. And there is an equally abundant landscape of complexity being Jewish in the United States. This course is designed to be immersive and comprehensive, providing space for extensive information sharing, processing, community building, and learning integration which are all key components in understanding the U.S. system of racial oppression and where we sit inside of it so we can participate in dismantling it. Each session will have 1) a review of readings w/dialogue of key concepts, 2) experiential and creative exercises to reflect on and engage the content for different learning styles, and 3) a relevant Jewish/Spiritual teaching to help ground the learning in ritual.
What if I can’t commit to the whole thing?
It is crucial that members of the Jewish Justice Circle commit to all sessions. We are building a trusting space together where we can all be honest and vulnerable to look into the hidden spaces we might not have seen before, in ourselves, and in the world in which we live. This can be a sometimes painful and distressing process. Part of starting the course is the agreement to not turn away, to stay to completion. Special arrangements can be made for folks who want to participate and know in advance that they will miss one class. We do understand life is filled with the unexpected and ask all participants to sign-up with the best intention to fully participate.
How much does this cost?
We are committed to making this workshop series available to people across class and economic access.
If you are a community that would like to host this work for your people, please contact us for a quote.
To support this commitment for individuals, we have devised a sliding scale which aims to take into account both the unequal distribution of wealth in our society as well as the value of the labor required to offer this class. There are a limited number of spaces available at each level. We encourage participants to self-select into paying the amount that best correlates to your class. Here’s a link that we’ve found helpful to understand class. To support deep connection and learning, we are intentionally capping participation at 21 people (one zoom screen.) As white class-privileged people committed to resource redistribution, we will be contributing 10% of gross earnings to BIPOC-led and serving Jewish organizations.*
Is this an accessible space?
As a part of our commitment to access we:
- Provide captions for all sessions
- Have slides as part of every session
- Support different learning styles with varying exercises and activities
- Ask people to be on video as much as possible and understand we all have different capacities for engaging the camera
- Encourage all participants to use visual descriptions of themselves
- Practice using a combination of “chat” and verbal communications.
We craft our space with attention to how people with atypical ways of thinking, communicating, sensing, or moving, can easily navigate this environment, and we want to know about participants so we can adapt to the people in the room. (Thank you to the Never Again Action disability justice team for wonderful teaching and language to support this work.) You’ll see on the application form a place to tell us more about you.