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Congregational Position and Activities: Race and Gender Equality

Racial Equality

 

Background
Jews have long been partners in the fight for civil rights. Since the mid-20th century, Jewish congregations have worked alongside people of color to fight for equal access to schools, transportation, and voting rights, among other basic human rights. Jews participated in the civil rights movement both because of a belief in basic human dignity and equality, and also a faith that teaches us to pursue justice for all. Today, we continue that tradition amid threats of neo-Nazis and white supremacist activity across the U.S. and in our own backyards.

 

In modern times, while overt racism and inequality remain, they also often take more subtle forms. To continue the effort to achieve true racial justice in our world, we must confront the ways that racism still exists in our country, our community, and even in our own families. We must recognize that our local and national policies may disproportionately affect people of color, who face institutional barriers and the lingering effects of overtly racist policies of earlier generations. Some of the current policies that disproportionately affect people of color include:

  • Criminal justice and prison reform
  • Affordable housing
  • Education
  • Labor rights, including family leave, sick leave, and minimum wage

The Tzedek Committee encourages greater awareness and understanding of the many ways that racial inequality affects and diminishes our community, and works to become more active in the fight for racial justice. To achieve this, we intend to work with local organizations actively pursuing racial justice missions and to focus on events where we can broaden our understanding about how we can work towards greater racial equality at home and across the country.

 

Other Resources

ADL, with a mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all, has long been in the forefront of the fight for racial justice in America.

 

Jews United for Justice is a local organization that focuses on several social justice issues that strongly overlap with racial justice. These include campaigns dedicated to affordable housing and paid family leave here in the District.

 

T'ruah, a national organization of rabbis focused on human rights, has a campaign focused on ending mass incarceration and police discrimination against people of color.

 

Interfaith Action for Human Rights is a local, interfaith organization with a campaign to end solitary confinement.

 

Gender Equality

 

The Tzedek Committee of Hill Havurah, an independent Jewish community based on Capitol Hill, strongly opposes the Trump Administration’s plan to impose restrictions on transgender indivduals serving in the U.S. military. This week’s Supreme Court decision to lift a previous stay allowing the administration’s policies to proceed, even though those policies are under appeal, also saddens and concerns us.

 

The word “Tzedek” means justice, and is a key word in the book of Devarim – “Justice, justice you shall pursue, so that you may thrive and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” The pursuit of justice includes our support of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals in our congregation, our community, our city, and our world.

 

The Tzedek Committee undertakes actions to support social action based on Jewish laws and ethics, striving to create a world that is just and kind. As such, we are unequivocally opposed to any attempts by this Administration to roll back federal protections of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals; to limit how transgender individuals choose to serve their country; and to otherwise discriminate against any class of people.

 

The Tzedek Committee stands with organizations that seek to enshrine these protections and otherwise support and maintain the freedoms, dignity, and opportunities of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals.

Tue, October 22 2019 23 Tishrei 5780