JCJ Clergy Cohort member and Temple De Hirsch Sinai Rabbi Avi Fine delivered the following d’var Torah on Yom Kippur this year. Watch the full clip below.

One particular excerpt stands out, beginning at 7:01:

Through tfillah and tzadakah, we can split the sea of loneliness. 

We know the pain of loneliness stings when a person feels alone. But what about when a person is isolated and unseen by the very community they are a part of?

The latest demographic surveys of the American Jewish community find that at least 12-15% of Jews are Jews of Color. Yet, how often does our mental image of what a Jew looks like exclude people with darker skin? How many of our Jewish spaces reflect the diversity in our community? These are not just rhetorical questions. I invite you to answer for yourself.

If we exclude Jews of Color from our mental image of Jews, we harm the Jewish community. We harm our community through the small assumptions we make and their influence on our interactions.

Mazel tov to Rabbi Fine on this very incisive and important message. See JCJ’s racial justice resources here.

Shanah tovah.