Update on Actions Related to Temple Israel’s Commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI)
In January of 2021, the Board issued a statement of commitment to Antiracism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Board subsequently approved a REDI work plan and launched its implementation with the formation of a REDI Team, including members of the Racial Justice Initiative, members of the Board, clergy, staff and lay leaders to move the work forward.
At Temple Israel, “Living Judaism Together” means that we acknowledge, welcome, and honor each individual in our community for who they are. We celebrate our community’s diversity in personal identities and lived experiences. Living Judaism Together through “righteous impact” means that we work actively as a community to combat racism, bigotry, bias, fear, ignorance, and hatred in our own Temple, our city, our state, and our country and ensure that each individual and group is included and treated equitably. As we strive to be a synagogue where everyone feels a sense of belonging, we are engaged in a culture shift focused on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. We encourage all members of our community to join us in this important work.
This work is centered on the sacred Jewish obligations of teshuva and tikkun olam. Teshuva, in this context, is a turning from actions that have strayed from our values, actions that have resulted in people in our country suffering from inequities along many dimensions, including race, country of origin, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, ability status and religion. These inequities are manifest in employment, education, housing, the criminal justice system, health care, and other areas. As expressed in our original statement, we have reviewed our core values and realize that Temple Israel, like our society, has missed the mark.
Because our community has strayed in this way, we accept the responsibility for tikkun olam, or repair. Temple Israel is unwaveringly committed to equity and justice for all. We intend to act to fight racism, create more opportunities for people of color, and become more inclusive to all.
Guided by our core values, we reach for teshuva and recommit to tikkun olam. We reaffirm the need for action and resolve to catalyze and sustain the transformation now underway.
REDI Initiative Update
REDI, which we adopted from the Union of Reform Judaism, stands for Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Equally important, the term denotes that at Temple Israel, we’re prepared — ready — for change.
The REDI Team is dedicated to ensuring Temple Israel is actively engaged in the Tikkun, or repair, of racism, bigotry, bias, fear, ignorance, and hatred in our own Temple, our city, our state and reports regularly to the Board on progress. Through these efforts, Temple Israel has embarked on an organizational journey to
ensure that everyone, regardless of race or other personal identities and experiences, feels that they belong.
What is Our Plan? REDI Work Plan and Workstreams
A diverse group of congregants, staff and clergy developed an extensive workplan, dividing the effort into several workstreams. A summary of the workstreams, targeted outcomes and action areas, developed by the REDI work team, is shown on the following page.
Community transformation takes time and requires the awareness, desire, knowledge and capacity of its members. There is a role for everyone, clergy, staff, and
congregants. Please join us in this sacred work.
Interested in getting involved? Contact Tali Puterman, Assistant Director of Social Justice Engagement.
|CLERGY||For the clergy to understand and model the principles of our REDI work, and to lead by example.||To be the most effective champions for the work and connect it to Jewish values and traditions.|
|STAFF||Align the staff experience with values of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion to enable the broader community environment that also reflects these values and the feeling of belonging.||Ensure policies, practices and performance management systems for staff embody the values of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.|
|LAY LEADERSHIP||Work with Board, Council and Committee leadership to sensitize and engage them in the work that has to be done.||Engage leaders as ambassadors, in one-on-one conversations with other congregants, to promote REDI work, enable them to create open, welcoming and inclusive environments.|
|COMMUNITY SAFETY||We aspire to have a community where the well-being, identity and relationships of all members of the TI community and visitors are assured at all times while in a TI space or activity.||To change the mindset from security to community safety, so that the well-being, identity and relationships of all members of the TI community and visitors are prioritized.
To protect people in our spaces by relating to each individual on a spiritual and personal level, and respect boundaries, individual identities, and the process of spiritual growth.
|ADMINISTRATION||Equitable and inclusive deployment of Temple Israel’s human and financial resources.||Ensure TI’s internal policies, systems and practices enable an understanding and experience of racial equity, diversity and inclusion.|
|CONGREGATION||To create and promote an environment of belonging and inclusion among all prospective and current members of the congregation with no exceptions.||Ensure pathways to membership include people who identify as non-White and non-Ashkenazi, while providing antiracism and anti-bias training to congregants and encouraging purchasing be redirected to Black-owned businesses and businesses of other underrepresented groups.|
|COMMUNICATION||Help structure guiding principles to enable storytelling through a REDI lens. Our goal: to fully reflect an inclusive community invested in feelings of belonging for all members.||Work with Temple Israel staff to engage with all forms of communication and media for internal and external audiences in order to amplify the work on racial equity, diversity and inclusion. Our aspiration: to create an experience where all belong and all have a sense of ownership.|
|MONITORING||The 8th workstream, Monitoring, captured tasks to measure, report and review implementation. These tasks are distributed among the other groups or are the responsibility of the REDI team.|