Rosh HaShanah Study Session: Revisiting the Sources: Writings on Civil Rights from Heschel to Baldwin to Martin Luther King Jr.
Revisiting the Sources: Writings on Civil Rights from Heschel to Martin Luther King Jr.
with Tema Smith
For many leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, the imperative to work towards equal rights was a call rooted deeply in religious tradition — or in other cases, in opposition to it. This session will look at the words of some of the prominent voices of the era from the Black and Jewish communities and explore how they saw their work in many cases drawing inspiration from religious text, or in other cases, standing in opposition to religious institutions and traditions. Join Tema Smith for a look at the texts from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others that came to define an era.
Tema Smith, previously Holy Blossom Temple’s Director of Community Engagement, is a diversity advocate, writer and Jewish community builder. As a contributing columnist at The Forward, she works to advance the conversation about race and racial justice inside the Jewish community. She speaks frequently on issues of inclusion, justice, and identity, and has been an invited speaker for the ADL, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Hillel International, Limmud North America, the AJC, Harvard University, and numerous synagogues, Federations and JCRCs across North America. She has worked as a consultant with organizations like the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Miles Nadal JCC, the Montessori Jewish Day School, and CJPAC.
Tema is a member of the Nexus Task Force examining the issues at the intersection of Israel and Antisemitism in America and is part of the inaugural cohort of the Shalom Hartman Institute Seminar & Writers Workshop for Journalists. She is currently the Director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly InterfaithFamily), an organization dedicated to empowering people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and encouraging Jewish communities to welcome them.