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Racial Justice

Racial Justice Team

The Racial Justice Team is part of FTJC's Social Action-Social Justice Committee. To get involved, please e-mail

Racial Justice Community Plan

This plan was approved by FTJC's Board in January 2021 and is underway with the leadership of our Racial Justice Team.

Racial Justice Self-Education Resources

This list of resources aims to offer a sample of resources to begin or further your racial justice learning. It is meant to be a living document -- please feel free to add resources that have been useful to you in understanding perspectives of non-white people. We invite you to join in the conversation and remind us all to be kind!

Racial Justice Parenting Group

If your family would like to read something, let others in the community know so you can discuss together. Many of these books would make great gifts for family members or loved ones. Rimonim's Racial Justice Parenting Group was born out of expressed desire and commitment to raising anti-racist youth during the Fall 2021 community-wide racial justice workshops. We have a WhatsApp group which serves to both share recommended resources and be a space of support. We also have volunteer-led workshops - please join us for our third meeting of the year - February 1, 2023 at 8:30pm. Parents are reading and discussing Social Justice Parenting: How to Raise Compassionate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World by Traci Baxley. Please email Ilana for more details and to RSVP.

Rimonim Youth & Families Diversity, Racial Justice, and Anti-Racism Reading List

Compiled with guidance from PJ Library and Bechol Lashon's Anti-Racist reading lists, this list has books for kids and grown-ups.  We would love for you to interact with this list! If you've already read something, leave your thoughts. If your family would like to read something, let others in the community know so you can discuss together. Many of these books would make great gifts for family members or loved ones.

Racial Justice Workshop Series, Fall 2021

In Fall 2021, our shul organized a virtual series of Racial Justice workshops, taught by highly experienced facilitators. Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman and Franny Silverman, in partnership with the Y's Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life, and with generous support from UJA-Federation of NY and the Y. These workshops offered a framework for learning about racial justice, how to facilitate belonging, and how Jews fit into the racial constructs of the U.S. An additional workshop on raising anti-racist Jewish children was geared to parents, caregivers, and teachers.

Juneteenth Statement

Friday, June 19, 2020 / 27 Sivan 5780

On behalf of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center, we mark the observance of Juneteenth by declaring: Black Lives Matter. As a religious Jewish community, our congregation is committed to anti-racist learning and practice to advance racial justice, including efforts to make our congregation a more affirming community for Jews of Color.

These are extraordinary times. Under different circumstances we might have had a community conversation on race and policing, to learn about and explore our diverse viewpoints and experiences, and then issued a statement. In this case, because of the urgency of the moment, we are acting first, with the intention of beginning deeper conversations at FTJC during the summer. 

We act now for the sake of our beloved community members who are Jews of Color, including adults and children, as well as for our neighbors. We do so for the sake of ourselves, to publicly live out our obligations as Torah-observant Jews who uphold pikuach nefesh (preserving of life), tzedek umisphat (the fair administration of civil and criminal justice), and klal yisrael (the collective whole of the Jewish People).

To that end, we have signed our congregation’s name to two current, urgent initiatives:

  • The NYC Budget Justice Campaign (also referred to as “defund the police”), which aims to redistribute $1B in the 2020-21 city budget to other city agencies that may be better able to serve functions needed by people of color, minorities, and low-income residents. At a time when human service agencies are facing disastrous budget cuts due to the pandemic, this is the number one current priority of our city’s advocates for rethinking the role of policing in the safety and thriving of our communities. We add our voice now in hopes of impacting the debate over the city’s budget, which concludes June 30. In normal times, we would first hold some discussions on an issue, share our diverse experiences, and build understanding through panels, films, living room conversations, etc. 
  •  Not Free to Desist : An open letter from Black Jews, Non-Black Jews of Color, and our allies to Jewish Federations, Foundations, Organizations, and Initiatives.” As explained in the initiative’s FAQ, signing this statement means that we support putting anti-racism on the Jewish communal agenda and making Jewish communities more affirming places to be for Jews of Color. 

    Organizational Plan:
    While the specific benchmarks and targets in the open letter may or may not  be right for FTJC, in signing this letter we commit ourselves to developing our own organizational plan with measurable targets and timeframes. We have asked an emerging racial justice working group within the congregation to begin soliciting community input and to draft such a plan, which we hope to be able to approve by the end of this summer. That group currently includes board members, the chairs of our Social Action-Social Justice Committee, and Jews of Color: Rena Allen, Zach Cohen, Karen Greene, Ray Levi, Jessie Pressman, Nissa Mai-Rose, and Jessi Thompson, as well as Mira Kessler and Rabbi Guy. If you would like to be part of this team, please email

Finally, we note that Rabbi Guy, for his part, has added his name to this Declaration from White Clergy , put forward by Faith in Action , the national network of local affiliates including Faith in New York , an interfaith coalition of congregations of which FTJC is a member.

We know that our community is a work in progress, and that we must be sure to truly hear voices whose urgency many of us have not previously recognized. This letter and the endorsements described represent initial steps in recognizing our obligations to listen, learn, teach, safeguard, and act with urgency as we attempt to more fully live the values of our faith.  

Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees

Wed, April 24 2024 16 Nisan 5784