Racial Justice

Our racial justice work is an expression of our msot abiding Jewish values: hesed (loving-kindness), tzedek (justice), tikkun olam (helping mend the planet). In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social and racial justice.

We are committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness in our congregation and in the world. We are dedicated to advocating for these principles, especially as they affect marginalized groups beyond our own Jewish community.

We explore racial justice issues through study and coming together in a safe space for our members to explore and discuss them, as well as through our actions and partnerships throughout our community.


Racial Justice Group meeting — January 18 @ 7:30pm on Zoom

Topic: Our response to the rise of Antisemitism, particularly regarding the vandalism of the Medford Chanukah Menorah:

In 2022, the Racial Justice Group of TES focused on looking outward, beginning what we hope will be an ongoing and mutually supportive relationship with BASE (Black Alliance and Social Empowerment).

In 2023, we planned to look inward, with a focus on antisemitism; how it affects us, and what we can do. Then, the relevance and importance of TES addressing this as a community took on new meaning when the Chanukah Menorah, erected by Chabad in Vogel Plaza in Medford, was vandalized twice in the same week.

Come to the meeting to share your reactions to the vandalism, learn what the congregation has already done in response, and hear options for our continued response. We want to hear your ideas on what we, as a congregation, should do on a local level now that this issue is no longer “theoretical.” We  hope to use this meeting as a springboard to develop an active and relevant response to the growing antisemitism in our valley, our nation and our world.

Please put it on your calendar and plan to come! You do not need to sign up in advance; it will be on the regular TES Zoom link. For questions or concerns, please contact Cheri Elson at pitzkele@me.com.

For TES Zoom click here.

Here are the dates for all of the Racial Justice Group meetings in 2023 (the 3rd Wednesday of each month) – all from 7:00 – 8:30 pm:

– January 18, February 15, March 15,  April 19, May 17, June 21,  July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 20

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Cheri at pitzkele@me.com.


Community Partner

BASE (Black Alliance for Social Empowerment) — BASE is a nonprofit community organization that provides events, community information-sharing, connection, support and resources that work toward the well-being and advancement of Black residents living in Southern Oregon. We supported BASE in the creation of the Southern Oregon Racial Equity Liaison, and will continue to support them to build an inclusive community to combat structural racism that is prevalent today.


The following is a list of  Racial Justice resources:

– Confronting Anti-Semitism and Racism (podcast): https://evolve.fireside.fm/7

– Thoughts on Racism and Antisemitism (article by Rabbi Mordechai Liebling): https://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org/thoughts-on-racism-and-antisemitism/

– A Brief History and Update on Antisemitism (article by Rabbi Mordechai Liebling): https://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org/history-and-update-antisemitism/

– Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White (article by James Baldwin): https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-antisem.html

Evolve website, an initiative of Reconstructing Judaism: https://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org

Evolve’s adult education programs: https://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org/adult-education/

– Hashivenu, a podcast about Jewish teachings on resilience: https://hashivenu.fireside.fm/about

– Skin in the Game (article by Eric Ward): https://politicalresearch.org/2017/06/29/skin-in-the-game-how-antisemitism-animates-white-nationalism

– Addressing Antisemitism While Keeping Our Eyes on Collective Freedom and Racial Justice (article by Rachel Hall): https://reformjudaism.org/blog/addressing-antisemitism-while-keeping-our-eyes-collective-freedom-and-racial-justice?utm_medium=email&utm_content=2022_2_10

– Being Antiracist (article suggested by Liora Gale): https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/being-antiracist

– Six Ways to Help Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap (article suggested by Liora Gale): https://www.planning.org/planning/2021/winter/6-ways-to-help-bridge-the-racial-wealth-gap/

– An Imam Blows the Whistle on Muslim Antisemitism (podcast suggested by Liora Gale): https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/an-imam-blows-the-whistle-on-muslim-antisemitism/id1570872415?i=1000549160493&fbclid=IwAR0lllILekreM3r6yk8gxSIkJpW1aj45ysVRF7BBXgrOb0jnkV1AhOgYD5k