Wise Worldly Women Explores Systemic Racial and Economic Injustice

We appreciate your leadership and that of our clergy and board as our congregation grapples with racial injustice. Addressing systemic racism during a pandemic was and is a tall order. The tools Temple Beth El provides congregants to learn and to act are invaluable. Thank you for providing multiple learning opportunities and for offering new and enhanced social justice and civic engagement projects. Thank you for teaching that our Jewish religion and heritage require us not to look away, but to seek ways to overcome the stain of racism in our lives.

Our Wise Worldly Women TriBE had established strong personal bonds before the corona virus pandemic hit. We transitioned rather easily this Spring to Zoom meetings with regular check ins and even a second night seder. When George Floyd was killed and the protests began, we decided to spend the summer learning more about systemic racism and how we should respond, both personally and as a community.

Our TriBE setting provides a personal Jewish space to learn together that we have come to cherish. We were grateful for the guidance of Temple Beth El as we planned our racial justice education. This summer we watched and discussed the film “Just Mercy” and read and discussed the book White Fragility. Both ideas came from emails received from our clergy.

This past month our TriBE discussed the Ask Big Question “What Advantages Do You Have” (from our TBE TriBE curriculum), along with the New York Times Magazine article on reparations by Nikole Hannah Jones entitled “What is Owed”. We studied Deuteronomy 8:11-19, and reflected particularly on the words:

When you have eaten your fill, and have built fine houses to live in, and your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold have increased, and everything you own has prospered, beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget Adonai your God, who freed you from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage…

This passage led to a discussion about the need for humility as we tackle systemic racial and economic injustice. One member commented that while we all have conversations about current events in many circles, in our TriBE we have the unique opportunity to study our Jewish values, and strengthen our Jewish identity as we tackle tough questions. After our discussion, we all became inspired to humbly do more “lest our hearts grow haughty”.

As a way to express our thanks to you, our TriBE has made a donation to the general fund of Temple Beth El to be used where needed. We thank you again for your leadership.

With love from the Wise Worldly Women TriBE,

Holly Levinson, Sue Worrel, Emily Zimmern, Deidre Grubb, Esther Chipps, Renee Townsend, Cary Bernstein, Andrea Cooper, Liz Wahls, Debra Smul, Melissa Raphael, Moira Quinn Klein, Barbara Ziegler, and Lee Bierer

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