The death of George Floyd and the recent protests and civil unrest have clarified the importance of prioritizing our work for racial justice in Greater Philadelphia.

After George Floyd’s death, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, issued this  Statement on the Death of George Floyd on Monday, June 1.

Interfaith Vigil

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia collaborated with the Religious Leaders Council of Interfaith Philadelphia, and the Mayor’s Office on Faith Based and Interfaith Affairs to convene a community wide virtual vigil on Thursday, June 4, which was “attended” by over 650 people. Guest speakers included Rev. Naomi Washington from Leapheart; Dr. Marilia Marien from the Philadelphia Shambhala Center; Quaiser Abdullah from Quba Masjid; Bishop Patricia Davenport of the SEPA Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church; Archbishop Perez from the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Rev. Aldo Siahaan from the Philadelphia Praise Center; Rabbi Eli Freedman from Congregation Rodeph Shalom; Chaplin Betty White from the University of PA Health Care System. Read our remarks here

Confronting Racism as Jews

The final installment of Confronting Racism as Jews program, in partnership with BZBI, occurred on June 3rd where we facilitated a discussion with Chad Lassiter, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and they spoke about recent events. Watch all four discussions below.

A Conversation with Our Black Elected Officials

Recent outreach to Black legislators on the Federal, State and local levels led to the development of a webinar Reflections on the Moment – Moving Forward Together: A Conversation with Our Black Elected Officials, at which members of our Jewish communities learned about what specific issues those elected representatives have identified as priorities so that the Jewish community can engage in supportive advocacy.

Watch a recording of the webinar here

JCRC’s Community Council Resolutions

The JCRC’s Community Council resolved to intensify use of a racial justice lens when addressing domestic priorities and, working with appropriate partner organizations in the Black community, deepen our communities’ understanding of the nature of structural racism and the appropriate legislative, policy and community responses.  Action steps include:

  • Participate with other JCRCs from across the country to work on criminal justice reform and relationships with the Black Community.
  • Continue our advocacy in support of social safety net legislation that benefits not only poor Jews but all under-resourced members of our community.
  • Our JCRC affiliated clergy will participate on the Board of Rabbis’ Racial Justice Task Force.
    Work with local Black clergy to create a program of deep listening for rabbis and lay leaders of local synagogues.
  • Engage stakeholders and thought leaders to explore developing a successor program to Operation Understanding where Jewish and Black teens can come together.
  • Working with various constituencies in the Jewish community to ensure that our communal institutions are not themselves racist and that Jews of Color feel welcome and a part of our communities.
  • The creation of  a Racial Justice working group to develop appropriate responses to racial injustice and identify appropriate programs.

Resources to Educate Our Community

JCRC Statements on Recent Events