As the Reform Movement continues our fervent pursuit of social justice in North America, we deepen our dedication to the pursuit of racial justice, recognizing that our vision of dignity, equity and safety for all people has yet to be fully realized. This pursuit is fundamental to our identity as a multiracial Reform Jewish community, is rooted in our enduring values, and requires transformative work in both our communal institutions and in the public arena.
Systemic racism persists as a challenge to our most cherished Jewish values. We are taught not only that all of humanity is created B’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image, but that humanity began with one person, Adam, so that no one could say to another “’My ancestors are greater than yours’” (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). We seek a world in which the structures and behaviors in our own community fully welcome and include people of color. We also commit to working against public policies that discriminate against and devalue people of color.
The Talmud states: “Kol Yisrael aravim zeh b’zeh – All of Israel is responsible for one another” (Shevuot 39a). For decades, the Reform Movement has taken strong positions against racism and in support of civil rights laws in our broader society. Our deep sense of responsibility to one another also compels us to pursue racial justice for the sake of our own multiracial community. Jews of color, Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews are members of our community who are directly impacted by racial injustice. Greater efforts must be made to center the voices and leadership of Jews of color in our synagogues, communal spaces and Reform Movement institutions. The pursuit of justice requires that we seek out areas of growth, improvement and change of our own community to make racial justice a central feature of our Movement.
For Jews who do not identity as people of color, the pursuit of racial justice is equally essential. The prophet Jeremiah teaches, “Seek the welfare of the city to which I [God] have exiled you and pray to Adonai on its behalf, for in its welfare shall you find your own” (29:7). Although such Jews may at times benefit from being seen by society as white, we have seen how anti-Semitism sits at the core of white supremacist ideologies that put Jewish communities and communities of color at risk. This reminds us that we will ultimately find freedom from discrimination and injustice when all people experience that same liberation.
Freedom comes from transformation within the walls of our institutions and from consistent and persistent efforts to change our society’s policies and practices that perpetuate systemic racism in the realms of criminal justice, voting rights, education, health, and economic justice, among others. That recognition inspired the Reform Movement’s participation in efforts such as Nitzavim (our 2016 non-partisan voter registration, engagement and protection initiative), the 2015 Journey for Justice from Selma, Alabama to Washington DC in partnership with the NAACP and the launch of NFTY’s Racial Justice Campaign in 2017. It also motivates our tireless advocacy for racially-just federal policies, and local efforts our congregations have undertaken in partnership across lines of race, faith and class.
Clergy who have marched for justice, youth leaders who have raised the moral call for fairer sentencing, educators who have brought Jewish racial diversity into their curricula and countless others have shown us what it looks like to pursue racial justice. It is our responsibility to deepen and broaden that pursuit.
THEREFORE, the Union for Reform Judaism resolves to
 Jews of color is a pan-ethnic term that may be used to identify Jews whose family origins are originally in African, Asian or Latin-American countries. Jews of color may identify as Black, Latino, Asian-American or of mixed heritage such as biracial or multi-racial. Mizrachi and Sephardi Jews from North African and Arab lands vary in whether they self-identify as “Jews of color.”
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