Racial Justice Initiative 2020-21 Draft Vision, Mission & Guiding Principles

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The Racial Justice Initiative will pave a path at Temple Israel against racism by helping to build a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse synagogue community wherein all are treated equitably. Additionally, we will support Temple Israel’s efforts to dismantle all policies, practices, and ideas that disproportionately and negatively impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our community.


With relationships at the center of our efforts, Temple Israel’s Racial Justice Initiative works in tandem with TI clergy, staff, leadership, and members to develop strategies, policies, and programs for the Temple Israel community with the aim of becoming anti racist within and outside the synagogue. We work in partnership with the Reform Jewish movement, Greater Boston area nonprofits, Black-owned businesses, faith communities, elected officials, and other organizations committed to dismantling racism. Together, we will learn and take action to advance equity and justice for all people and become antiracists, as individuals and as a synagogue.

Guiding Principles

We will:

  • Connect learning, relationship building, social action and public policy by embracing the URJ’s thoughtful rubric of “Reflect, Relate, and Reform”;
  • Collaborate with TI Clergy and Leaders to continue the focus on creating an institutional culture through the lens of anti-racism, diversity, inclusion and equity;
  • Collaborate with other TI committees to support and integrate the work of RJI to create both a learning community and a culture of action with an appropriate sense of urgency; 
  • Align our work with the Jewish calendar and temple life;
  • Develop clear goals and outcomes for each of the existing efforts and new ones;
  • Meet regularly to support each other and the work that is currently happening, and cultivate emerging ideas and programs that help us achieve our vision;
  • Connect more TI members to this initiative, including new members and members of all ages, stages, cohorts; 
  • Invest meaningfully in outreach so that we have external partnerships that help us with this work.

Current work of Racial Justice Initiative (2020-21)

Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion @ TI Commitment
  • Board approves
  • Staff implements
  • Lay leaders support
Economic Justice
  • Purchasing: Building relationships with Black-owned businesses Shifting Temple Israel’s (institution and individuals) purchases into the advancement of economic growth for the black community.
  • Investment: Host events to educate congregants how they can align their investments with their values.
Criminal Justice
  • Partakers: Temple Israel congregants volunteer as mentors to incarcerated individuals seeking a college education
  • Advocacy: TBD
Civic Engagement Campaign- Reclaim the Vote

Combat voter suppression through postcard writing and phone banking in partnership with JALSA and Center for Common Ground.

BIPOC Caucus

Community building and action group for Jews in the Temple Israel community who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

Annual Happenings at TI
  • Month of Elul Community Read
  • 10 Days of Awe — 10 Days/10 Ways
  • Sukkot of Justice and Compassion
  • Shabbat Tzedek Weekend