Creating A More Equitable Community

UJA has always been — and will always be — a champion for inclusion, equity, and opportunity for all. To advance that vision, we’re looking inward first, recognizing that there’s much more to be done to make sure Jews of Color are safe, valued, and included at our own communal tables. And we’re working with allies in other communities to create a more equitable and safer New York for us all.

Amplifying the voices of Jews of Color. Calling out hatred. Learning. This is where change begins.

In Pursuit of Racial Justice

AMPLIFYING VOICES OF JEWS OF COLOR

To meet the demand for increased awareness about racial equity and inclusion in the Jewish community, we made it possible for Be’chol Lashon to add new trainers, speakers, and educational resources.

Be’chol Lashon’s Campus Initiative works with Hillel professionals and Jewish students to foster a more inclusive campus environment with new opportunities for Jewish engagement. And together, Be’chol Lashon and Brooklyn’s Hannah Senesh Community Day School are strengthening awareness of the diverse racial and ethnic culture of Jews throughout the world to create a more inclusive school.

We also launched a New York hub of the Bay-area Jews of Color Initiative to support organizations led by Jews of Color and provide guidance to Jews of Color looking to work in the Jewish communal professional space with coaching, workshops, and field placements to develop their leadership skills. Our Jews of Color Professional Network empowers Jews of Color who work in the Jewish community with professional development, discussion, and networking.

We’re supporting Ammud: Jews of Color Torah Academy, which provides Jewish education by Jews of Color for Jews of Color, who often find themselves alienated by racism in majority-white Jewish institutions. And as part of UJA’s graduate fellowship program, we’re offering designated scholarship support for Jews of Color seeking to work in the Jewish communal space.

And we’re supporting The Jewish Education Project in creating a training fellowship, B’Yachad, for Jews of Color who are educators in the New York area. The cohort will access a virtual shared learning environment to communicate, collaborate, and exchange resources.

SHAPING A MORE INCLUSIVE JEWISH COMMUNITY

To help our Jewish community become more inclusive, our funding is educating and training educators and professionals at our network of nonprofits to become better informed about issues of race, equity, and inclusion (REI) – so they can guide their organizations to be more welcoming and accepting.

We’re supporting the Nafsheinu Day School REI Cohort for New York day schools committed to amplifying REI leadership in the senior administration and teaching staff, and the Theater Artists and Interview Series, which engages Jewish high school students in exploring Black narratives and plays by contemporary Black writers.

And we help train camp directors and other senior staff in diversity, equity, and inclusion policies through the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Our Synagogue Racial Equity and Inclusion Learning Cohort completed a three-part learning series and received microgrants to develop and execute their ideas for initiatives.

We’re also funding organizations like JASA, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and Selfhelp Community Services to help them better understand and confront racism within their institution’s structure and operations and the community that they serve. Many of our partners also participate in a six-month learning program we host, led by Ginna Green, to discuss their work in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

ADVANCING RACIAL JUSTICE

We’ve raised the New York profile of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a national organization based in Washington, D.C., that mobilizes the Jewish community to fight systemic oppression. Our funding supports Jewish organizations that belong to the Roundtable, such as Bend the Arc and Avodah, and offers grants to New York-area organizations like NCJW-NY, Footsteps, and Tru’ah.

We also seeded a group of coalitions dedicated to racial justice themes, especially issues with policies that disproportionately affect people of color. Coalitions include Harlem Heals, which promotes rehabilitation and reconciliation between offenders, victims, and the community at large; Faith, Justice, and Democracy, which improves conditions for those who are incarcerated and sustains their families; Metro IAF: Do Not Stand Idly By, which works with advocates for policy changes leading to safer gun laws and reduced gun violence; and more.

Along similar lines, we’re working on reforming criminal justice by building supportive spaces for those seeking new beginnings after incarceration. We launched the Jewish Coalition on Criminal Justice Reform to create a dialogue among NYC communities about how we can best go about this.

Other programs we support are helping Black business owners rebuild after the pandemic, forging new relationships between the Five Towns Jewish community on Long Island and their Black neighbors, and bringing together Brooklyn’s Hasidic and Afro-Caribbean communities through outdoor service projects.