A few weeks ago, Tema Smith and I began circulating a letter about how leaders in the Jewish community talk about "social justice" concepts -- things like Critical Race Theory, White supremacy, and intersectionality. We were concerned at how often prominent Jewish figures treated these terms in a strawmanned or caricatured fashion -- held out as boogeymen responsible for every stupid column some college sophomore penned at UC-Santa Cruz. This treatment did not reflect the values of open discourse, rigorous inquiry, or generosity of spirit that are essential to fair and productive dialogue (ironically, values that many of the offenders cited in cavalier dismissal of the relevant concepts).
The letter was delayed by the eruption of hostilities between Israel and Palestine in Gaza, but now has been publicly released. I am tremendously proud of the diverse set of prominent Jewish leaders who have signed on. To name just a few, we have:
- Esther Lederman of the URJ
- Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first woman ordained by the Conservative Jewish movement
- Aaron Keyak, Joe Biden's director of Jewish engagement
- Eric Greene of the Jewish Multiracial Network