Bet Chaverim stands in solidarity with the activists against systemic injustice and police brutality.
In addition to continuing our historical work of supporting and joining protestors in the streets,
the Jewish community must think about how we welcome Black Jews and other community members
in our synagogues and homes. Good intentions cannot take the place of true understanding.
Work is needed on every level, whether it’s the Israeli government’s treatment of African refugees
or an individual’s naive assumptions about someone’s background.
Antiracist activist and Bet Chaverim member Eytan Olivier has shared his piercing observations
on the experiences of himself and other Black Jews:
“Concerning RACISM, in general I can say:
-Racism is to my eyes, the largest MONSTER freely CHOSEN by humans.
Concerning RACISM as a JEW, I can say that:
-It is NOT always easy to be accepted by many as a JEW.
So those who are JEWS are best off NOT being BLACK.
Because if one is JEWISH and BLACK at the same time, things can be at the best, COMPLICATED.
In one sentence:
-If one is a JEW, being BLACK makes things WORSE.
As we as humans have FREELY chosen to live with racism, we have the ability to get rid of it freely too.
As JEWS we are called to be (or le goyim <-> אור לגויים) which means LIGHT to the gentiles.”
It can be very painful to hear that we have work to do on ourselves. In addition to standard antiracist reading,
the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has also provided resources for our own cultural trauma
to help us be ready to truly hear others.
It is important to be kind to our learning and growing hearts while developing
our antiracist skills one step at a time.
Starting with the learning resources provided here,
Bet Chaverim pledges to work on resisting injustice in our own habits and assumptions as well as the world.