PLEASE NOTE THAT, DUE TO THE CURRENT PANDEMIC, ALL COMMUNAL EVENTS ARE CANCELLED OR POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
In the past year, Jews have grappled with ideas around race, diversity and inclusion like never before. The Bush Report on racial inclusivity in the Jewish community – led by journalist Stephen Bush and published by the Board of Deputies in April 2021 – highlighted the false assumption that all Jews are essentially white and European, and sought to investigate discrimination against Jews of colour within the Jewish community. In a landmark series, the Lyons Learning Project and Jewish Renaissance will demonstrate just how far from the truth this is.
First, on Sunday 13th June, we look at the Bush Report with Stephen Bush and Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, and a panel of black British Jews share their experiences, including Kenneth Awele Okafor, a British Jew with Nigerian Igbo, Maghreb and Sephardi heritage who promotes awareness for African Judaism in the UK. Then we widen the frame for rare insights into Jewish life in Africa, with guest speakers including political activist Avraham Neguise, who was born in Gondar, Ethiopia, and emigrated to Israel in 1985; Michael Moges and Belayne Tezabku, leaders of Kechene synagogue in Addis Abbaba; Rabson Wuriga, author and scholar of the Lemba Jewish community of Zimbabwe; Remy Ilona, secretary general of Hebrew Igbo people and many more.
Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, executive director of Lyons Learning Project, commented: “When the issue of black Jews first emerged last year, I confess to having felt a little smug. My synagogue was excellent at welcoming Jews of colour and black Jews into the congregation, but these congregants had another story. They spoke of the difficulties they faced, the petty humiliations, how other congregants would stare at them. Assumptions were made that they weren’t Jewish, weren’t members, and they had to explain week after week to the security guard that they were not a threat. I realised that believing in a diverse, multi-racial, egalitarian community doesn’t make it one. It requires active engagement, conversations, detailed analysis and identifying the racists and calling them out. As I wrote this, I realised I assumed that the audience I would be speaking to was made up entirely of white Jews – that’s my conditioning, the way I was brought up, and I realise that we must all work to change that way of thinking. That is why the Bush Report is so important and why the events of last year could finally change attitudes for the better.”
Dr Aviva Dautch, executive director of Jewish Renaissance, commented: “Since the inception of Jewish Renaissance magazine almost 20 years ago, we have been, and will continue to be, committed to amplifying voices from around the world and across racial divides. We shine a light on Jewish culture and explore the full range and diversity of what it means to be Jewish. In this series we hope to expand on the discussions that are currently happening throughout the British Jewish community in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Bush Report, and we’re especially delighted to give a platform to African Jews, including Jews with African heritage living in the UK. But we are also aware that too often the tourist depiction of these communities as ‘other’ contributes to exoticising and distancing them, so we hope to encourage members of these communities to openly talk about the realities of lived experience and what we share as equal members of the Jewish diaspora.”
All talks start at 6pm and will be via live stream. Registration is free, but donations are appreciated. More info and to book: jewishrenaissance.org.uk/events/jewish-black-lives-matter
• Sunday 13th June: Black British Jewish Lives: The Bush Report
Speakers: Marie van der Zyl and Stephen Bush
• Sunday 20th June: Black British Jewish Lives: The Significant Presence of Black British Jews
Speakers: Kenneth Awele Okafor, Ella Bennett and Nicola Downes.
• Sunday 27th June: African Jewish Lives: The Ethiopian Jews Left Behind
Speakers: Avraham Neguise and Rabbi Sybil Sheridan.
• Sunday 4th July: African Jewish Lives: Bal Ej – The Secret Jews of Ethiopia
Speakers: Michael Moges, Belayne Tezabku and Malka Shabtay.
• Sunday 11th July: African Jewish Lives: The Lemba in Southern Africa
Speakers: Rabson Wuriga and Malka Shabtay.
• Sunday 18th July: African Jewish Lives: The Hebrew Igbo of Nigeria
Speakers: Remy Ilona and Malka Shabtay.
• Sunday 25th July: African Jewish Lives: The Abayudaya of Uganda
Speakers: Rabbi Gershom Sizomu and Malka Shabtay.
Experts from different Israeli institutions will be joining us to talk about the Israeli education system, health care, employment opportunities, aliyah eligibility, absorption programs and many more. Also, you will have a chance to meet representatives of Israeli municipalities, universities and olim organizations and to pre-book one-on-one meetings with our experts
Effective strategies for social media.
Speakers: Noam Koren, StandWithUs Director of Digital Strategy and Ido Daniel, Director of Digital Strategy at the Ministry of Strategic Affairs
If you wish to join us register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeucvwRhQ4hZfAA3PK7jv1YDybn_8wKpoQJJXZVbT_BJ088tw/viewform?usp=sf_link
HSD Opening Panel
Holocaust Survivor Day: Does the Jewish world need another holiday?
Thank you for your interest in joining the inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day on June 24th, 2021. Holocaust Survivors represent the best in all of us and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate their lives and legacies later this month.
There will be four official events organized this year by Holocaust Survivor Day. The program will begin at 12 pm EDT / 9 am PDT / 6 pm CEST / 7 pm Israel time with an opening panel featuring leaders in the fields of Holocaust education and survivor advocacy, followed by three breakout discussion panels at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT / 7 pm CET / 8 pm Israel with survivors, children of survivors, and grandchildren of survivors, respectively.
Watch and join the opening panel of the inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day. The featured panelists will explore the origin and idea behind HSD, how survivors are being cared for, and the importance of the survivors and their legacy for the Jewish People and the world. Opening remarks will be provided by Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President, World Jewish Congress; Mark Wilf, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jewish Federations of North America; Marcy Gringlas, President & Director, Seed the Dream Foundation; Gideon Taylor, President, and Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President, Claims Conference.
Colette Avital, Chairperson, Center of the Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel
Ulrika Citron, USC Shoah Foundation Next Generation Council member
Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director, JCC Krakow; Founder, Holocaust Survivor Day
Rabbi Michael Paley, Senior Scholar, JDC
Stephen D. Smith, Andrew J. and Erna Finci Viterbi Executive Director Chair, USC Shoah Foundation (TBC)
National Armed Forces Week (21st – 27th June) is an opportunity to honour the Jewish men and women who served in HM Armed Forces protecting our freedoms, and those who are serving today. Please join us for a unique virtual tour of the National Memorial Arboretum and a special ceremony to celebrate the significant contribution of Jewish Servicemen and women to HM Armed forces, past and present.
To watch the event please log on to www.youtube.com/ajexjma on Sunday 27th June at 2pm.
We would also love your organisation to join our ‘Raise a Glass’ campaign by sharing photos of your students raising their drink of choice – anything from a juice to water bottles – as a l’chayim to those serving and to share on social media tagging AJEX and #raiseaglass. You can also email a picture for us to share via [email protected] I’ve attached the flyer for this too.