We re-dedicate ourselves to Temple Israel’s history of engagement in the fight for racial justice in greater Boston and the United States with a multi-year strategic and community-wide effort to pull our congregants together and challenge ourselves to participate. We will seek to learn, build relationships, and change in ourselves and our families, our community and in the world around us. We know that in the words of the Pirkei Avot, “We are not expected to complete this work; but neither are we free to abandon it” and in the words of Rabbi Hillel, “If not now, when?”
The Criminal Justice Reform branch of the Racial Justice Initiative aims to improve people’s lives and make the world a more equitable place for all. We will educate Temple Israel members, including ourselves, about some of the complexities of the criminal justice system with at least two questions in mind: What are the injustices in the system adversely affecting People of Color? What can and should we do about it? We know that Temple Israel cannot make a difference on its own. Therefore, we will partner with other groups to accomplish our work. We will take two approaches: Tzedek and Chesed. The first will involve advocacy to change the law to make it more just and effective and particularly to reduce the adverse impact on People of Color. The second will involve working directly with those affected.
Did You Know? District Attorneys…
- Decide whether to charge a crime or divert person to necessary drug treatment
- Decide whether to charge a crime with a mandatory lengthy prison sentence
- Decide whether to charge a crime that leads automatically to deportation for immigrants
“Who’s the most powerful person in the [Massachusetts] criminal legal system?….It’s your local District Attorney, your DA.” – Rahsaan Hall, Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts Racial Justice Program
Purchase from Black-Owned Businesses
One project of the Economic Justice Working Group is an effort to promote purchasing from Black-owned businesses. This project is anchored in our awareness of insidious past and present racial discrimination; and in the evidence that Black-owned businesses are likely to hire Black people, and foster economic improvement for Black families and communities along with myriad other benefits. Like all small businesses only much moreso, Black-owned businesses often fail, or fail to start, due to lack of access to capital or the challenge of reaching their desired markets and customers. When we make a meaningful effort to spend dollars in line with our hopes for the world around us, we are participating in the drive for economic justice.
Temple Israel has already begun to rely on several new vendors thanks to the leadership of Executive Director Dan Deutsch and Events Coordinator Jennifer Cinnante. We will add to the list below regularly.
Please treat the owners and proprietors as friends of Temple Israel. We are building relationships and strengthening our community in the process. If you have feedback, contact TI members Thel Klein or Andy Tarsy.
Food, Drink, and Entertainment (Includes Catering)
Fresh Food Generation
This “farm to plate” caterer is now a regular presence at Temple Israel. Owners Cassandria Campbell and Jackson Renshaw have deep roots in farming, nutrition and youth development. Empanadas, salads, wraps, soups and more are bursting with flavor. Excellent catering and a food truck too!
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
604 Columbus Ave, South End, 617-536-1100
Restaurateur and Developer Darryl Settles has created a relaxed, sophisticated atmosphere for “southern comfort food and signature cocktails with a side of some of the best jazz in Boston.” Go for dinner or Sunday brunch, and consider their excellent catering.
Slade’s Bar and Grill
958 Tremont Street, Lower Roxbury, 617-442-4600
Recently re-done by Darryl Settles, Slade’s has more than 80 years of history being the “soul of Boston” with southern-style dining, drinks and entertainment in Lower Roxbury. It was owned by Celtic legend Bill Russell in the 1960s.
266 Bowdoin St., Boston (Dorchester), 617-282-1998
70,000 Massachusetts residents are Cape Verdean and Tony Barros’ has been offering the cuisine of the archipelago off the coast of West Africa for 15 years. If you have not tried Cape Verdean cuisine or if you already love it – this is your place.
185 Dudley Street, Roxbury, 617-708-0245
Owner & chef Cecilia Lizotte offers “All-Africa Cuisine” and describes the Nigerian inspired fare as “an artistic creation”
1238 River Street, Cleary Square, Hyde Park, 617-276-3729
Caribbean, Italian, Spanish & Asian flavors define the palate of owner/chef Olrie Roberts. Lunch, dinner & excellent catering.
233 River Street, Cambridge, 617-354-7644
Cambridge locals adore the soul-food that Tony Brooks and team prepare. “Our food is the progressive, healthier prepared version that our families grew up on in the South.”
Lucy Ethiopian Café
334 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, 617-536-0415
Owners Netsanet Woldesenbet and husband (chef) Girmay Cirsto Ziegaye have a perfect pre-Symphony spot for dinner. Their Ethiopian café boasts authentic flavors and is an art gallery too – and some say you just have to try the Peanut Tea.
782 Tremont Street, South End, 617-936-3490
Zagat says Chef/owner Douglass Williams has one of the hottest new Italian restaurants in Boston. From MIDA’s website: “We believe meals are meant to be shared and that everyone in the neighborhood should have a comfortable place to unwind, enjoy great food, imbibe and have fun.”
Blue Nile Restaurant and Marathon Foods
389 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-6453
Some say this is the best Ethiopian food in Boston. Really good vegetarian options. “Healthy food prepared from scratch” is not just a slogan. This is a serious food place. Marathon Foods is the name of their company that packages their offerings for sale in area markets.
Savvor Restaurant and Lounge
180 Lincoln Street, Boston, 857-250-2165
Owner F. Eddy Firmin’s upscale Leather District spot is ”the perfect combination of authentic Southern comfort cuisine with delectable Caribbean influences.” Firmin calls Savvor “a restaurant whose employees are held in the highest esteem, guests are treated like family and food is paramount.”
1746 Washington Street, South End, 617-266-0003
Boston’s first Senegalese restaurant is in the South End. Chef/Creator Marie Claude-Mendy was born in Senegal, raised in Paris and educated in London; but Boston is home. “Teranga” means hospitality and the place is built to bring that virtue of Senegalese culture to life. Catering too.
Wally’s Cafe Jazz Club
427 Massachusetts Avenue, South End, 617-424-1408
Since 1947 the Walcott family has been delivering an authentic jazz experience to patrons. Professionals take the stage every night and exceptionally skilled and talented students from Berklee and other places too. This is an institution – for music and for Boston.
With a passion for delivering the taste of home-cooking and a reputation for excellence, Morrell’s caters events all over the greater Boston area.
Brazo Fuerte Brewing
Founder/CEO Beverly Armstrong runs the state’s first female-owned brewery. The former biotech executive makes full flavored session ales and pursues sustainable practices in every aspect of the business, even making dog treats from used grains. Find it at any Craft Beer Cellar location or on tap at Boston’s Club Cafe, Midway Cafe or Townsman; or Cambridge’s Flat-top Johnny’s – among many other places.
The Dream Team Band
Athene Wilson, 617-594-9338
Dream Team “rocks crowds at weddings, parties and corporate events” with a “mix of music designed to fit your unique crowd.” TI’s Thel Klein says, “Great dance band for any occasion!”
Sweet Teez Bakery
Teresa Thompson Maynard set out to create a nut-free cupcake in response to her children’s allergies. Now she runs a custom cakes and bakery business and will have a store location soon.
Me & the Bees Lemonade
Find pre-teen CEO Mikaila Ulmer’s products at Whole Foods or order directly online. This dynamo has created a phenomenon around all natural product development and the use of honey from her own bees in the flaxseed enriched lemonade she makes. She even won a $60K investment on Shark Tank!
What began for Owner and Lead Baker Markita Durant as a family activity and a passion has become a business, offering ”custom design, a classic layer, cupcakes or cake pops” for dessert lovers, party or event hosts, and anyone with a sweet tooth.
Founder and CEO Celeste Croxton-Tate channels her love of Indian and Caribbean spices and flavors into her catering business and her own line of chutneys, relishes, fruit spreads and spice blends (perfect gifts).
City Fresh Foods
From their Roxbury location, CEO Sheldon Lloyd and team “make thousands of delicious, affordable meals from scratch, and deliver them to childcare centers, schools and rehabilitation and eldercare programs.” You can connect them to an organization where you are affiliated and in doing so invest deeply in the community.
1193 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, 617-868-0004
This restaurant near Inman Square serves up “comfort food with a southern drawl” and is perfect in combination with a movie at the Kendall Square Theater. Owners Renee McLeod and Mike Walker draw on New England influences as well as flavors and styles from Louisiana and Virginia.
Cambridge Cafe: 31 Putnam Avenue; 617-499-0801
Somerville Bakery: 285 Beacon Street 617-661-7437
Owned by Renee McLeod (also of Tupelo) Petsi is an icon for fresh-baked, outrageously good savory and sweet pies and baked goods. People wait in line at dawn before holidays just to bring Petsi pies fresh from the oven. The cafe (Cambridge) is great for breakfast or lunch, a community meeting or working on your laptop.
Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (& Museum Shop)
300 Walnut Ave, Roxbury, 617-442-8614
The museum fosters and presents the finest in contemporary, visual and performing arts from the global Black world. Through its teaching, visual and performing arts divisions, the NCAAA brings the best of the Black world to you.
Museum of African American History (& Museum Shop)
46 Joy Street, Boston (Beacon Hill), 617-725-0022, x330
Among the most important National Historic Landmarks in the US, the African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School on Beacon Hill were built in the early 1800’s. The Meeting House has been returned to its 1855 appearance and is open to the public (talks, tours, events). The School, the oldest US public school for African American children, currently houses exhibit galleries, education programs, a caterers’ kitchen, and a museum store filled with books and inspired gifts.
Haley House Bakery Cafe and Catering
12 Dade Street, Roxbury, 617-445-0900
Non-profit cafe with locally-sourced food prepared from scratch. Really good pizza, sandwiches, soups, salads, brownies, cookies. Provides job training and arts and cultural programming for the community.
Down Home Delivery and Catering
2 Bowdoin Street, Dorchester, 617-288-0813
Executive Chef Daren Payne and Down Home make the claim that they “proudly serves the best down home southern cooking in the City of Boston” and they did a great job catering the Temple Israel MLK celebration in 2016. Eat in, take out, catering, or delivery!
Personal and Business Services
2136 Washington Street, Dudley Square, Roxbury
Kaidi Grant’s Dudley Square weekend pop-up shopping spot features local entrepreneurs. Clothing, jewelry, music, skincare products, art…and creative energy that only a real community effort could generate.
57 Warren Street, Boston, 617-541-1722
Leonard and Clarrissa Egerton run this community bookstore located in the heart of Dudley Square “with a passion of promoting literacy within our children, teens and adults,” and a mission to “change minds one book at a time.” Great place to buy books by and about the African diaspora.
Leash Dog Care
Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, 617-294-9455
Darrell Kelton has 3 years in finance behind him and Co-founder Javier Vega grew up caring for dogs, cats, pigs and horses on a family farm. Now they run a modern pet-sitting, dog-walking operation, and handle owners gently too.
Natasha’s Homemade Body Butter
Natasha Williams is the CEO and creator of this homemade organic skincare company. Made with passion for the health and wellness of all. Available to retail or wholesale customers.
At Peace Arts
Would you host a party where every guest paints wine glasses or canvases before they sit down to eat? Over 400 have done just that under accomplished artist Kyia Watkins’ gentle tutelage at “Paint Your Peace” parties. Kyia also wowed the TI team (and lots of kids) at Brookline Day doing face-painting at our table.
This wellness organization offers Vinyasa yoga, meditation, wellness services and African dance instruction via a regular schedule in community settings. Founder Melissa Alexis brings her education and training from Amherst, Sarah Lawrence, Columbia and JP Centre Yoga to the pursuit of wellness, self-care and healing within historically marginalized communities.
Ivyees “Everything Honey” A Logwood Company, LLC
Boston based Ivy C. Lawson is an engineer turned bee-farmer and has accomplished her goal of making products we use daily, such as shampoo, conditioners, anti-wrinkle cream, and toothpaste. She uses raw honey and 100% natural and organic ingredients. Ivyees honey alone wins raves, especially the hibiscus & sorrel and other premium varieties. Read a Q&A with Andy Tarsy and Ivy Lawson here!
Quock Associates, LLC
Quock is a construction management and real estate development company specializing in the transformation of distressed real assets into high-impact properties. The team’s experience includes a vast array of multi-million dollar construction projects. Quock’s founder Karl Coiscou promotes the company’s mission of influencing and advancing social enrichment in those communities in which the company is engaged.
Humphries Street, B #03, Boston (Dorchester)
This graphic design & production services business provides creative and strategic visual communication solutions for clients of all shapes and sizes, from retail stores to citywide public engagement campaigns to corporate branding efforts. Led by artist and owner Franklin Marval, Cyanta can make everything from a simple banner to a promotional “wrap” for a car as well as a strategy to make the art tell the story you want to tell.
Kristen Ransom’s digital design shop serves organizations making social, economic, cultural and environmental change. Clients have included the Boston Impact Initiative and Darryl Settles. Websites, campaigns, and much more.
594 Columbia Road, Suite 203, Dorchester, 617-506-9293
This Boston-based design and manufacturing firm “helps creatives do more using digitally augmented tools.” Founder/CEO Jemuel Stephenson is an artist, designer, digital creator, instructor and inventor with a background in mechanical engineering.
President/COO Teri Williams spoke at Temple Israel in 2017 and explained why considering a Black-owned bank is good for social justice and equity. This one happens to have its HQ in Boston. Mobile banking, real-estate secured lending and more.
Advoqt Technology Group
10 Guest Street, Suite 290, Brighton, 617-600-8161
STEM advocate and IT services CEO Reinier Moquete Payano “empowers mid-sized organizations to lead their industry, deliver the highest level of service, and to use technology to make a difference in people’s lives.” Advoqt can “accelerate growth by leveraging the power of Robotic Process Automation, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics.”
DSP Executive Search
Kim Dukes is Managing Director and Co-Founder of DSP Executive Search, a national search firm based in Cambridge. Kim is a recognized expert in building balanced talent pools for client organizations which means increasing diversity and inclusion. DSP is a key component of a modern approach to finding talent and strengthening culture.
St. Fleur Communications
During her 12 years in elected office, Marie St. Fleur chaired the education committee and was vice-chair of the powerful House Ways and Means committee. She subsequently played a senior role in Mayor Tom Menino’s city hall and then led a statewide non-profit. Now St. Fleur runs a potent communications practice that specializes in community engagement and grass-roots outreach.
Catalyst Ventures Development
Darryl Settles’ real estate, business consulting, and investment firm dedicated to enriching the city of Boston via transformational development of residential and commercial properties and the creation of valuable community resources and assets. Darryl’s vision, reach, experience and expertise make CVD a valuable partner.
221 Washington Street, Brookline, 617-566-5683
Entrepreneur owner and Floral Designer Leslie Epps is also a nurse, which may explain this Brookline Village florist’s reputation for taking great care of customers and their life cycle events, celebrations, and business gift needs. She calls the highly regarded shop she bought ten years ago “a place to spread love, with finesse.”
Devon Plumbing and Heating
52 Evelyn Street, Mattapan, 617-298-2728 or 617-590-5858 (cell)
“Great for small jobs around the home, and they also did the plumbing for our kitchen and bathroom renovations. Very responsive and good work.”
67 Kemble Street, Suite 3.3, Boston (Roxbury), 800-270-6420
Herby Duverné is CEO and Founder of this 200 employee business services company that has expert teams in a wide range of areas including physical and cyber security, instructional design for e-Learning and workplace training, and many other categories that are very familiar to their large corporate or government clients like Keolis, Amtrak, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Postal Service.
Colette Phillips Communications (CPC)
177 State Street, Suite 6 Boston, 617-357-5777
CPC serves corporate clients and cultural institutions with branding, positioning, stakeholder and public relations strategy. A long-time board member with American Jewish Committee and many other organizations, CEO Colette Phillips also created the 10-year-old Get Konnected program to bring together, recognize and support diverse professionals in Boston.
Gregory Minott and Troy Depeiza lead a team of architects and designers who have the attention of the the building design community in Boston right now. For residential, multi-family, institutional or commercial work, do not miss the opportunity to meet with them and find out why people are talking.
Taylor Smith Group, LLC
The Taylor Smith Group is an established Boston real estate development and consulting company. Currently the group is part of the diverse team preparing to build a major hotel in the Seaport area of Boston. Forty years of Development, commercial brokerage, property management; and they are master connectors too.
Bowdoin Bike School
14 Southern Ave, Dorchester, 857-246-9534
Bowdoin Bike School offers a full retail store and bicycle repair as well as an opportunity for customers to learn how to maintain their own bikes, Noah De Amour (nee Hicks). De Amour has plans to convert the store to a cooperative, employee-owned model and is committed to seeking sponsors and grants in order to keep his shop affordable to serve his Dorchester community.
CEO Michele Courton Brown and QI are delivering cultural competency solutions to premier hospitals and healthcare organizations to improve outcomes (sometimes save lives) and keep people out of the hospital. The team has trained over 140,000 healthcare professionals at institutions like Mass General, Barnes Jewish, New York Presbyterian, Tufts Healthplan and UMass Memorial.
Law Office of Koinonia Givens
320 Washington Street, Suite 403, Brookline, 617-934-2597
Givens is a town meeting member in Brookline and a skilled tax attorney practicing in Brookline Village with a focus on tax planning, elder law, and real estate. An active Yale University alumna, Givens is also a licensed real estate broker and works with small business owners, families, and non-profits with governance and tax law compliance issues.
Dialogues on Race and Racism
Current and Past Educational Initiatives
Thursday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Temple Israel of Boston, 477 Longwood Ave., Boston
Our communities will come together to discuss Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. According to The New York Times, the book “offers an incisive and engrossing perspective of the life of a black teenage girl” as the protagonist’s worlds “converge over questions of police brutality, justice, and activism.” Written as a young adult novel, the book provides a window into that experience for adults as well. Sign up here.
Join us for The White Card, a new play by Claudia Rankine addressing the unsettling question, “Can American society progress if whiteness stays invisible?” on March 13, followed by a potluck discussion after Qabbalat services on March 16. Contact Rachel Daniels for more information.
Close to 100 Temple Israel members gathered for a safe and honest conversation about race and racial injustice.
Explore the journey from slavery to mass incarceration with a screening of Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th,” which the Boston Globe has called “among the very best movies of 2016” and “probably the most important.”
“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson is “a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice – from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.”