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?”
A Conversation with Rachael Rollins, New Suffolk County DA
March 19, 2019
“We are no longer going to criminalize poverty, mental illness, and substance use disorder. We are going to end the wealth and racial disparities in our current incarceration rates.” — Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County DA
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giselle’s Flowers and Gifts
492 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA, 617-989-1263
Antonietta, the owner of this small flower shop, is a fabulous florist with always fresh flowers and great prices for individual arrangements and bouquets or for major events. Works with you to get exactly what you want!
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).
Somerville Bakery: 285 Beacon Street 617-661-7437
Owned by Renee McLeod, 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.
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.
60 Worcester Rd., Framingham, MA, 508-875-1571
“Chocolate Therapy is a new kind of chocolate shop, dedicated to providing you with remarkable, locally produced chocolates, as well as our unique handmade collection.” Watch a video here to learn more.
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.
Online orders only.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”