JFREJ is a community within a community. At JFREJ you’ll find every kind of Jew, united by our common belief in justice. And all of us work in partnership with the grassroots social justice mosaic of New York City — fighting for a better future.
Last night, we had an action night to support our Jews of Color Caucus in planning the upcoming Juneteenth Seder, in celebration of Black power and liberation, on June 14th. After getting to work, our members Hadar Ahuvia, Emma Alabaster, and R Sonia Alexander led us all in reading the names of every Palestinian protester who has been killed in Gaza during the #GreatReturnMarch this week, along with #MohamedBah and #SaheedVassell. What connects these names, from New York to Palestine, is our responsibility to grieve for all of those who will never experience liberation with us — in this case because of the brutality of state violence. We recited the Mourner’s Kaddish together, one of the holiest prayers in our tradition that we say in memory of the dead, and read Aurora Levins Morales’ Kaddish in memory of her communist father. We invite you to read the full text with us below.
“Joyously celebrated be the infinite complexity and beauty of the universe, its endless dialectic, its loops of positive and negative feedback, equilibrium and change, its constant evolution; and celebrated be human creativity and solidarity and courage. May they establish liberation in our lifetimes and in our days and in the lives of all peoples everywhere, speedily and soon, and let us say, ¡Que viva!
Praise to the great dialectic of change always unfolding possibilities.
May the deep wells of humanity and hope within us gush forth into the world and may there be principled unity and immense and powerful coalitions, clearheaded analysis and breathtaking vision, and practical, hard work done together and with joy. May the local and the global embrace, may the personal and political embrace, may intellect, emotion and flesh dance together. May our deepest desire for connection dissolve all factions and wash away all unnecessary conflict. Blessed and praised be solidarity, extolled and honored beyond all the songs and chants, manifestos and movements that have ever been crafted, for it is our greatest hope and we must cultivate it in all we do, and let us say ¡Que viva!
May all who are bound up in the toils of greed for power and wealth, and all who are trapped in the fear of scarcity, in selfish individualism and the short term strategies of desperation, and all who are confused by privilege and wounded by the ruthless heartlessness of oppression, be released, to join in the common good of us all which is far greater than any other reward.
May liberation arise abundant and universal from our own hands and hearts and minds; may there be peace and justice and life for us, and for all beings, and let us say ¡Que viva!
May we whose love and labor bring life sustaining food forth from the soil, create a sustaining and sustainable world for ourselves and for all that lives, and let us say ¡Que viva!” ... See MoreSee Less
"We have come together now because we believe it is time to forge a new covenant. We are dreamers and doers and this platform is meant to articulate some of our vision." -- The Movement for Black Lives policy platform
Tonight will conclude the 49-day Jewish ritual of counting the Omer. As we welcome in Shavuot this weekend, JFREJers across the world are gathering to study the Vision for Black Lives together with the #Shavuot4BlackLives Study Guide.
Observing Shavuot, a day of revelation, has profound implications for our work. Movements for justice and liberation must be guided and shaped by revelation, which the Vision for Black Lives, the Movement for Black Lives platform, seeks to foster. Led by Black Jews and Jews of color, this project has demanded that we take time each day, over the last 49 days, to reflect on a specific portion of the Vision, culminating in our reading of the full platform together and engaging with its words meaningfully.
What Shavuot inspires us to do— and what the struggle for racial justice requires of us — is to include not just the affirming portions, but most importantly, the portions that challenge us.
Diving into this process within our communities is an opportunity to reveal a fuller vision of liberation. It’s a vision of a world in which Black youth in our city can live without fear of being criminalized; a world that’s finally banished the social impacts of slavery. It’s a vision of what’s possible when we build a world that cherishes Black lives.