S.E.A. Change

Study – Engage – Act ––> CHANGE

Washington Hebrew Congregation is committed to engaging in sacred work to address racial inequity and injustice so that our community reflects our values. We cannot change the past, but we can seize this moment to learn with intention, build relationships, and work together toward a more just future.

In November, we launched SEA Change Racial Equity Roundtable, a unique cohort of extraordinary individuals from our WHC community, who, along with congregants from B’nai Israel, a vibrant Conservative congregation in Rockville, study and engage together in order to act as change agents. We retained the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN) to bring their expertise and experience in building strong Jewish communities capable of effectively organizing for justice.

The congregants who chose to participate in the multi-year initiative recognize that we cannot wait for others to deliver change. They see an opportunity to play an active role. In their words:

“Like many other progressive Jews, I’ve accepted as real the false narrative that simply being Jewish made me a part of the brotherhood against racial injustice.

“I think a part of the problem facing many Jews of Color is that it’s hard to deal with the microaggressions and racism that sometimes come with our Jewish organizations or synagogues. It is even harder when you don’t see anyone that looks like you or can relate to your experience.

“Indifference to oppression is just as dangerous as active oppression. This is an idea that has been drilled into every Jew’s head. If we don’t actively fight against oppression, then we support it … We have to fight against the oppression of African Americans.

“I’ve determined that as a privileged, White American, I want to help turn back systemic racism. As a Jew, I feel I must do more than want … I need to take some action.

SEA Change will lay the groundwork for WHC members and clergy to take action: to identify and address issues of diversity and equity within our own congregation and to work side by side with communities of color to address racial inequity.