Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his team of experienced producers are creating a four-episode special about the historic relationship between Black and Jewish American communities in all its complexity, possibility, and depth. The series will air on PBS and be distributed in smaller bites across multiple platforms. Their purpose for lifting up this important but under-told history: to create shared understanding so new Black-Jewish coalitions can form and thrive.
With support from RPF, Reboot Studios is helping to produce an eight-week run of comedian Alex Edelman’s Just for Us at the Hudson Theater on Broadway, and created educational engagement materials for the audience. The show, which has received rave reviews in the New York Times and The New Yorker, is ostensibly about how Edelman responds to a string of antisemitic rhetoric pointed in his direction online by going straight to the source—specifically, Queens, where he covertly attends a meeting of White Nationalists and comes face-to-face with the people behind the keyboards. Much more lies within the one-man show, including thought-provoking insights about antisemitism, race and Jewish identity, and where the Jewish value for empathy and the need for safety collide.
Led by Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah brings together clergy from all streams of Judaism to advance human rights. With support from RPF, T’ruah will deepen the impact of their “moral leadership” track by providing resources, skills-based trainings, and peer-to-peer support to 100 rabbis and cantors over the next two years. They will also expand their work combating antisemitism and train a smaller group of “movement chaplains”—rabbis who specifically provide spiritual support to activists on the frontlines of justice.
Bend the Arc draws on the long and important tradition of American Jewish activism, training Jewish community organizers and advocating for policies and practices supporting communities to be free, safe, and thriving. Over the past year, the 13-year-old organization has oriented their mission around the fight for Black liberation. This reflects Bend the Arc’s commitment to racial justice and their work to support and lift up Jews of Color. With support from RPF, Bend the Arc will continue to contribute a Jewish voice to multi-faith movements for justice, push back against antisemitism and white supremacy as connected threats to all marginalized groups and to our democracy, and grow its base of community organizers working to enact progressive policies like the BREATHE Act.
In the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, RPF helped Avodah, the Jewish social justice leadership organization, bring its service corps program to the Big Easy. Today, in addition to New Orleans, Avodah has a variety of Jewish justice programs in Chicago, New York City, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C. Their Service Corps program invites roughly 50 young Jews (aged 21-26) to live and learn together while they spend a year working for local organizations addressing poverty and other justice issues. The impact is trifold: partner organizations benefit from having dedicated young Corps Members add significant capacity to their work, participants build meaningful connections to each other and to the communities in which they serve, and the broader Jewish community gains a pipeline of young leaders committed to social justice. With support from RPF, Avodah will continue operating the Jewish Service Corps in its current locations while also studying ways to further deepen the program’s impact over the years ahead.
Founded in 2019, Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy is a Jewish education organization led by and for Jews of Color, giving this growing and racially diverse community an educational home that centers their unique needs and lived experiences. Programming includes Torah learning, weekly group study sessions, Hebrew lessons, and more.
Since the founding of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) over two decades ago, the Clergy Leadership Program (CLP) has been IJS’s flagship program. Over 18 months, CLP helps rabbis, cantors and other spiritual leaders develop the qualities of heart and mind necessary to sustain compassion, work effectively for justice, and inspire their communities through mix of retreats that combine prayer, meditation, text study, group discussions, and ongoing one-on-one guidance from a highly regarded staff. An essential companion program to CLP, Hevraya is open to IJS’s 530+ CLP alumni and offers opportunities for networking, on-going learning, and an annual retreat that reconnects participants to their IJS experience and each other.
With support from RPF, composer Francesco Lotoro will travel to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Israel, the U.S., Brazil, and China to recover musical scores created in concentration camps during the Holocaust. Materials collected through this project will add to the more than 8,000 compositions and 12,500 documents (microfilms, diaries, musical notebooks, phonographic recordings and more) already saved through Lotoro’s work.