A famous debate among the sages of Jewish tradition tries to resolve the question, “What is better: study or action?” The rabbis argue both sides but they ultimately declare, “Study is greater, because it leads to action.”
This moment in history demands both study and action. Our community is comprised of thousands of individuals with different stories and diverse journeys. Some of us have deeply lived the reality of racial injustice in the United States while others of us are beginning to learn.
What recent weeks of fearless protests have proven is the urgency for CRS to start learning and acting as a congregation. Wherever we are in the path toward education and repair, being part of a synagogue family means that we have sacred bonds of relationship that will be strengthened by an ongoing conversation about race and racism.
CRS Reads is Back!
After another successful round of reading and learning as a community we are diving into our next round with the book on the theme of racial (in)justice in the United States. Our selection this spring is Color of Water by James McBride. We encourage you to support small business by purchasing your book through Bookshop.org. Please register for a discussion session with clergy and fellow congregants in May.
White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress. Whites are often at a loss for how to respond in constructive ways. “White Fragility” is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. This book explicates the dynamics of White Fragility and how we might build our capacity in the on-going work towards racial justice.
This summer, we invited you to take part in CRS Reads, a congregation-wide book club on the topic of racial justice. From mid-August to mid-September we discussed:
This winter, we invited you to take part in CRS Reads, a congregation-wide book club on the topic of racial justice. From late-January to mid-February we discussed:
We invite you to browse a library of additional resources on the topic of racial justice in the United States.
CRS Reads is one of numerous paths of learning and action that we are building to nurture our community’s understanding and engagement with the fight for racial justice. Our country’s reckoning with entrenched racism concurrent with the continued pandemic makes it precarious to show up and march our values. Our sages’ emphasis on study is an important reminder that learning and listening are forms of engagement that help us open our hearts and cultivate empathy. We pray that by reading and acting together, we will help turn the page toward a chapter of justice, dignity, and equality for all people of color.