Sharing Space with Jews in ALL Hues these High Holy Days
We are grateful to be in a values-driven community that embraces diversity; yet, an honest look at our community reveals that we have not reached the diversity toward which we strive. For instance, the percentages of Jews of Color at RS does not approach the national percentages. So we are exploring ways to demonstrate our support for the needs of Jews of Color. Our EID/Witness (Equity-Inclusion-Diversity) leaders and congregational Anti-Racism study have taught us so much! Listening to experts and to members of historically marginalized identities has helped us understand that past approaches and assumptions are often not the most helpful. For instance, now understanding that there is no such thing as colorblind helps us shine the necessary light on identities in their belonging. Understanding minority loneliness for some in an integrated space helps us understand the importance of affinity spaces.
Jews in ALL Hues, a locally-based national group, has requested space to gather in person for their mostly online High Holy Day services. Of course, at RS we seek to welcome Jews of Color; yet we are listening to this group’s needs and we welcome the opportunity to support them even as we reinforce our congregation’s mission to provide inclusive services for us all. This Jews in ALL Hues service is designed to serve Jews of Color who are not members of a congregation with an affinity space, and we welcome their growing relationship with Rodeph Shalom. They have requested an out-of-the-way space for their privacy and feel the Beth Ahavah Historical Sacred Space on our lower level is perfect. We see the poetry in their use of a space that honors another historically marginalized community, and that marks our LGBTQ+ community’s historical need for an affinity space even as the congregation embraced the LGBTQ+ community into the whole.
We are grateful to be on this EID journey with you all, working to create a community that is more whole.