A Note from Beth Am'er, Justin Fair
As a Jew of Color, married to a Person of Color, I was so proud to see Beth Am celebrate the diversity of the Jewish community on Erev Rosh Hashanah by inviting Rabbi Gershom Sizomu to speak. Likewise, I was so grateful for the Yom Kippur afternoon conversation with Wes Moore and those featured in his book about the Baltimore Uprising. There’s nothing quite like a fast day to show you how hungry you have been: I gobbled up every minute of hearing from people who looked like me— it replenished my spiritual body where I thought I was satisfied— but I was not.
I am thankful that, as a mixed Black man, married to a Nigerian-American man, that I am welcomed, and nothing says that more than representation. Yes, our congregation is majority-white, but also yes, Jews are a multicultural people; and triple yes, Baltimore is a multicultural, port city. I rejoice that at Beth Am, more and more, my ‘colorful’ voice is heard because it is my voice, and not my skin color, that makes the difference. So much of this nationwide challenge to desegregate and end discrimination, especially in policing, surrounds universal respect and an unabashed desire to be proud and to fully belong. The clergy and lay leadership are ‘putting our money where our mouth is.’
I am thrilled to share that Beth Am is cosponsoring: 18 Days Exploring Racial Justice that runs October 15th- November 2nd, 2020; and also Jewish Institutions: This Is What Jewish People of Color Need You to Know, Presented by District Community Playback Theatre, on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 6:30pm. Capacity for this virtual event is limited, click here to reserve your spot.
To this end, I'd like to invite any fellow Beth Am'er who identifies as a Jew of Color to join the "Baltimore Jews of Color Community" on Facebook. The group is an inclusive space where Jews across the Baltimore metro area can feel embraced and comfortable. Our members branch across congregations, cultural centers, and those who do not identify with a denomination. In addition, we are now developing a havruta and invite 'JoCs' to assist us in planning a transdenominational Shabbaton in 2021.