Strengthening Our Community Through Inclusion

By Melissa Garlick, Senior Director of Combating Antisemitism and Building Civic Engagement

This time of year brings so much joy and rejuvenation with the end of school, graduations, and family gatherings. Pride and Juneteenth bring celebrations of freedom and progress.

At the end of a particularly challenging year, this summer also brings with it the time for reflections of how far we have left to go to truly achieve freedom and equality for all in the Jewish community. I am contemplating the poignant words of Mimi Lemay: “I am thinking of the spaces that no longer feel welcoming to LGBTQ+ Jews of Color, who it seems, with a swipe of poster board paint, have been blotted from the narrative of Jewish history […] how do these Jews that live at the crossroads of multiple ‘otherings’ experience this moment?”

As the current strain of antisemitism intensifies, and we respond this summer, it is incumbent on all of us in the community to think about how Jews hold multiple marginalized identities, particularly in this moment. How can their experiences shape our responses to ensure that they are most impactful and inclusive? When spaces no longer feel welcome, how do we not only advocate and train leaders to push back on Jews getting cleaved from society, but also ensure we are supportive of our diverse community?

CJP’s Center for Combating Antisemitism (CCA) is proud to sponsor these conversation of intersections — especially this month. These conversations are critical in our community as part of our collective effort to address antisemitism. As CCA prepares this summer to advocate on Beacon Hill, expand students’ education on the Holocaust and contemporary antisemitism, and put together resources to better equip our community in responding to antisemitism in schools for the next year, we must also understand lived experiences in our community in order to truly address how antisemitism threatens all. In honor of Pride and Juneteenth, I hope this month’s newsletter allows for this important reflection and also celebration of how far we’ve come.