The concept of reparations embodies two sacred obligations of Judaism: T’shuvah–making amends for what we have done wrong and Tikkun Olam–repairing the world.
The response to our most recent Anti-racism program on Sunday, April 24th at 4:00 p.m., “Reparations: A Discussion,” was wholeheartedly positive. There was a strong consensus that Rabbi Cohen’s skillful moderating of the conversation with Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss and former Evanston Councilwoman, Robin Rue Simmons’ led us to a much better understanding of the concept of reparations. In fact, the program was so well received that it gained mention in the local publication, Evanston Roundtable.
Now, having learned about the concept and goals of reparations, some of you may be interested in furthering your understanding of this important topic. We would like to bring to your attention an upcoming documentary that highlights the work that Ms. Rue Simmons has done to educate and engage people in promoting the goals of the reparations movement. Please take two minutes to view the trailer by clicking “further reading.” You will not be disappointed!
Both Mayor Biss and Ms. Rue Simmons have been deeply involved in the passage and implementation of this ordinance and are experts in explaining this complicated topic. In addition, Mayor Biss’ personal story—he is the grandson of recipients of WWII reparations—speaks to us as a Jewish community.
We would like to bring to your attention an upcoming documentary that highlights the work that Ms. Rue Simmons has done to educate and engage people in promoting the goals of the reparations movement. Please take two minutes to view the trailer. You will not be disappointed!
In response to the growing national conversation about racism and institutionalized inequality, Temple Jeremiah has created an antiracism resource guide and designed a schedule of antiracism programming for our congregants.
We invite you to attend the programs below and to join us in a temple-wide conversation about diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Last year, Pat Savage-Williams conducted an interactive workshop in which she introduced us to the topic of white privilege. She returns this year on Sunday, November 14th from 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. to continue the discussion on anti-racism with thoughts on how we can be catalysts for change.
Pat Savage-Williams is currently the President of the Evanston Township High School Board. She was first elected to serve on the Board of Education at Evanston Township High School in 2013 and again in 2017. Professionally, Pat has worked as an educator for more than 30 years. She works at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, as a Special Education Coordinator and is the Equity Liaison for the district.
Within the Evanston community and at New Trier, Pat facilitates meetings that require participants to reflect on identity, race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. She encourages participants to take reflections from formal professional development experiences and combine them with relevant theory and best practices to apply them to the work they do with students every day. She also recently wrote an article published in the Illinois School Board Journal titled “Promoting Racial Equity in Schools: 10 Ways School Boards Can Champion Racial Equity.” Pat has lived in Evanston/Skokie community with her husband for more than 37 years. She has two young adult daughters who are graduates of ETHS and recent college graduates.
We are excited that former Senator Al Franken will join us (online) on Sunday, October 10th at 4:00 p.m. to speak to us on the topics of voter suppression and filibuster reform!
Over the past decade, Senator Franken has become an authority on the topic of voting rights and related issues such as the filibuster. In his conversation with Rabbi Paul Cohen, he will discuss the history and status of voting rights in the U.S. and more. A portion of our time will allow for Q & A by our audience.
As we continue to learn about how to practice antiracism, we will be discussing the article “Detour-Spotting, For White Anti-Racists” by Jona Olsson on Sunday, April 11th from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. This article outlines the ways ingrained habits and thought patterns can divert white, antiracist allies from their intended goals. It also discusses how to avoid these detours and handle them when they’re encountered.
Jena Doolas is an educator, social worker and racial equity facilitator. She has been working in public education for about 25 years as both a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, and a School Social Worker. She currently is in her 18th year as a school social worker at East Prairie School in Skokie, IL.
As part of that role she engages in community healing as a S.E.E.D. (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Facilitator at the school and community levels, and as a member of the Skokie Resilient Community Collaborative (SRCC). She has recently worked with various communities as a facilitator in book circles and studies about such books as What Does It Mean To Be White by Robin DiAngelo, So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeomo Oluo, The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, and I’m Still Here by Austin Channing.
On Sunday, February 21st from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., join us for a discussion of Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race led by Dana Garbarski, Temple Jeremiah member and Associate Professor of Sociology at Loyola, and Jill Patano, Temple Jeremiah member and licensed clinical professional counselor.
In her book, Oluo provides for White people and people of color the language and tools to engage in dialogue about race and racism and illustrates fundamental truths of how race is lived and experienced in individual, interpersonal, and systemic ways.
We ask that all attendees read the book prior to the session.
On Sunday, January 17th from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., join us to discuss the Pretrial Fairness Act. This new, proposed legislation calls for the abolishment of cash bail, ensuring that people accused of crimes, who are legally considered innocent until proven guilty, don’t await trial in jail just because they can’t afford bond.
This event will host an expert panel featuring Sen. Robert Peters, the sponsor of the bill, past president of the Chicago Bar Association Victor Henderson, J.D., and Temple Jeremiah member Dawn Projansky Lavin, civil rights and criminal attorney. The event will be moderated by Rabbi Cohen.
This spring, the Illinois General assembly will consider the passage of this important piece of legislation: the Pretrial Fairness Act. Briefly, under current law, individuals of limited economic means may be incarcerated if they do not have the resources to pay money bonds. Once incarcerated, an individual may face a mounting series of disadvantages including finding housing and employment and the erosion of family structure. The Pretrial Fairness Act seeks to establish new standards so there is consistency for pretrial bonds throughout Illinois.
Join Temple Jeremiah on Sunday, December 6th from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. for a discussion of Ava DuVernay’s 13th, a documentary exploring the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.
The discussion will be lead by Rabbi Cohen and touch on topics such as the legacy of slavery and the problem of mass incarceration.
We ask all attendees to watch 13th, which is available on Netflix and YouTube, before the discussion.
Join Dana Garbarski, Jill Patano, and other Temple Jeremiah members on Sunday, November 8th from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. for a discussion of two, thought-provoking articles from The Atlantic regarding the effect systemic racism has on the lives of Black Americans.
The first article we will be reading is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations,” which discusses the legacy of slavery and the exploitation of black communities, with emphasis on housing discrimination. The second article we will be reading is Adam Serwer’s “America’s Racial Contract Is Showing,” which discusses the disproportionate effect COVID-19 has had on people of color.
These two articles are meant to educate and enlighten. We hope to open a dialogue about the history of institutionalized racism in the United States as well as the present struggles black Americans experience each day.
How does this reading document “systemic racism,” which we can define as the ways in which racial inequalities are produced, reinforced, and become normalized across individual, interactional, and institutional levels. What parts of the system are revealed?
What is the “racial contract” as described by Charles Mills (summarized by the author Adam Serwer)? How is the racial contract made visible by police brutality and Covid-19?
What is the historical relationship between “white democracy” and “black plunder” as summarized by Coates?
What public policies and private practices created unequal wealth and “white flight” in the 20th century United States?
Why does Coates think reparations are important, and why does he say it has been a non-starter in the United States?
We often try to minimize our responsibility for the sins of our country’s history. To what extent are we culpable for acts which, though we did not ourselves commit them, nevertheless benefit our daily lives? Can something not be our fault, yet be our responsibility?
What makes systemic racism a durable feature of American society? What are the connections made between past and present, laws and institutions, capitalism, socialization, representations in media, the actions of people with power, and the actions of individuals? How does systemic racism both create and maintain social inequalities?
Once we see these connections and how we too are complicit in maintaining this system, what is our social responsibility? What can we do to move forward?
How can we treat justice and antiracism as processes to engage in rather than identities or destinations? What is the biggest challenge you see for you personally? What risks are you willing to take to practice justice and antiracism?
Join Rabbi Cohen and fellow congregants on Sunday, October 11th from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. to continue Temple Jeremiah’s discussion of implicit bias.
Exploring ideas from Pat Savage-Williams’ training workshop, Rabbi Cohen will help us better understand unintended patterns of thought and generalizations that impact the way we see others. All members of Temple Jeremiah, including those who did not attend the implicit bias training workshop in September, are invited to join this discussion.
How can someone’s race influence the way we see and treat them, even when we are genuinely trying to be unbiased? What concrete steps can we take to help prevent this from happening?
To answer these questions and more, join Temple Jeremiah on Sunday, September 13th at 4:00 p.m. for an implicit bias training workshop. The workshop, led by Pat Savage-Williams, will feature a mix of short presentations, interactive exercises, and discussions with the aim of challenging the unconscious prejudices we carry with us. The workshop will also provide participants with tools to combat their own implicit biases.
Pat Savage-Williams is currently the President of the Evanston Township High School Board. She was first elected to serve on the Board of Education at Evanston Township High School in 2013 and again in 2017. Pat has served as president for 4 years. Professionally, Pat has worked as an educator for more than 30 years. She works at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, as a Special Education Coordinator and is the Equity Liaison for the district. In this role, Pat leads several Equity Professional Development activities for faculty, staff, and students at New Trier.
She is a PEG Affiliate and facilitates Beyond Diversity at New Trier and within the Evanston Community. She is a certified SEED facilitator (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) and serves on the National SEED Staff to train and certify new SEED facilitators from across the country. Within the Evanston community and at New Trier, Pat facilitates meetings that require participants to reflect on identity, race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. These professional development sessions are both formal and informal. She encourages participants to take reflections from formal professional development experiences and combine them with relevant theory and best practices to apply them to the work they do with students every day.
Recently, Pat was the recipient of the 2018 Community and Engagement Award by the Pacific Educational Group at the National Summit for Courageous Conversations. She also received the Omega Psi Phi Citizen of the Year award in November 2018. Pat is aware that in her role as an African-American woman, a PEG Affiliate, certified SEED facilitator and School Board President she has the power and responsibility to advance the equity work within the Evanston Community to assure that teachers and community members know how important racial equity is in our community and at Evanston Township High School. She also recently wrote an article published in the Illinois School Board Journal (March/April 2018 edition & fall 2020) and republished in the Wisconsin Journal of School Boards and soon to be in the Ohio Journal of School Boards titled “Promoting Racial Equity in Schools: 10 Ways School Boards Can Champion Racial Equity.”
Pat has lived in Evanston/Skokie community with her husband for more than 37 years. She has two young adult daughters who are graduates of ETHS and recent college graduates.
To kick off our antiracism programming, Temple Jeremiah will be hosting a special Shabbat to reflect on the systemic racism in America as well as how to secure a more just, inclusive world.
Please join our clergy on Friday, August 21st from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. to close the week with a meaningful reflection on racism and systemic inequality. For this Shabbat, we will be joined by Elder David Kay, the lead pastor at the Apostolic Church of Austin, Temple Jeremiah’s partner in The Eat and Be Well Food Pantry. Elder Kay will speak on the reality of institutional racism and how interfaith collaboration can challenge systems of oppression.
It is only by listening, learning, and teaching about countering bias, discrimination, and oppression, that we will find a path forward. With this in mind, we encourage you to attend this service by simply clicking here at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 21st.
Elder David C. Kay was introduced to ministry at a young age, receiving his PAW national license at the age of 16. In 1995, he founded the Apostolic Church of Austin (ACA), also known as the Another Chance Assembly.
While in the early days of ACA, Elder Kay held services in his dining room, he soon found the church’s permanent location: 5138 W. Division St. Chicago, IL 60651. Beginning as a small building with space for only 30 people, the church is now home a robust group of parishioners, boasting a seating capacity of 400.
Elder Kay is honored to deliver the Word of God through the ministries of Evangelism, Teaching, and Deliverance. He operates in the five-fold ministry, leading his congregation in high praise. In honor of his work with ACA, Elder David C. Kay was selected to serve as the Vice Chairman of the Illinois District Council by Bishop Arthur M. Brazier.
Elder Kay lives in Chicago with his high school sweetheart Stephanie. They’re the proud parents of a blended family of five children, all of whom have active roles in religious life. When not serving ACA, David works as an inspirational speaker and landlord.