Education, leadership development, and advocacy from a progressive Jewish platform
The Jewish Center for Justice is a distinguished social justice, education, and leadership development platform that empowers current and future leaders to build a more compassionate and just society.
A diverse movement and community spanning generations and denominations, JCJ connects Jewish justice activists with unique opportunities to formulate their voices and make a real impact on issues such as immigration, gun violence prevention, economic justice, climate change, and more.
“Engaging with JCJ on campus has enriched my college experience by providing the tools and confidence I needed to raise my voice for justice, as well as a better understanding of how my activism is intrinsically linked to my Judaism.”
— Kevin Gibson, UC Berkeley
Recent Blog Posts
Each year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we beat our chests and engage in a communal confession. Looking back on a year, it can be difficult to pinpoint specific mistakes or failures. The beauty of a communal confession is that we take on all these failures together. We confess to an alphabet of sins, covering all our wrongs from A to Z. We take responsibility for ourselves and everyone around us. We accept that no matter how hard we try, we are not perfect, and in our admitting, we are committing to try to be better.
As we enter the month of Elul, we begin a traditional period of reflection in preparation for the High Holidays. This year has brought to light an alphabet of sins we have avoided admitting. Our failure to acknowledge these wrongs has cost lives. It has caused exclusion and alienation within our own communities. It has gone on too long. Now we will take responsibility. Now we will feel this pain we’ve been ignoring, this pain we’ve been causing. We will take it on as a community of individuals, working to be better.
A Vidui for Racism
We have abstained from uncomfortable growth.
We have belittled the pain of our fellow humans.
We have complied with social pressures.
We have desensitized ourselves to the suffering of others.
We have engaged in performative activism.
We have forgotten how to dream.
We have grown accustomed to our power.
We have heard the cries and chosen to stay silent.
We have ignored our personal responsibility.
We have joined the path of least resistance.
We have killed innocent people through our silence.
We have laughed to avoid confronting problematic behavior.
We have made excuses instead of listening.
We have not used the power of our voices.
We have oppressed others for our own gain.
We have perpetuated racist systems in our society.
We have questioned the severity of the situation.
We have robbed children of their innocence.
We have stood idly by in the face of wrongs.
We have taught a false narrative.
We have undermined movements for change.
We have valued property over life.
We have walked away from a chance to help.
We have been xenophobic.
We have yelled to mask our fear.
We have zealously guarded the status quo.
For all these sins, may we earn forgiveness, through our actions, through our learning, through our change of heart.
Samantha Thal is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.
The great philosopher Epiticus once said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” This idiom is as applicable today as it was when it was originally said almost 2,000 years ago. Listening to – and understanding – others’ opinions...
*Photo from www.janeelliott.com* By Allen Schultz On April 5, 1968, a class of white third-grade students from Riceville, Iowa all had the same question for their teacher, Ms. Jane Elliott – why was their “Hero of the Month,” Martin Luther King Jr., killed the day...