Together, we are making change
Change is definitely in the air, and it is filling me with hope.
We all make mistakes. What is worrisome is when mistakes are compounded by denial or cover-up. When confronted with the JCC’s sin of omission, its President Mark Sokol failed to see a problem. Fortunately that was not the case with many others in our community, who not only found the omission of women in this new JCC series as shameful as I did but took action to make change.
Friends of JWA immediately started working their networks. As a result, Peter Beinart, one of the speakers in the series, notified the organizers that he would not participate in a panel that did not include women. (The organizers have since added a woman to his panel.) Then Jeremy Burton created the #femjew hashtag on Twitter to build a list of Jewish women that institutions like the JCC should invite to speak. He suggested 84 names; others have been adding to the list.
The JCC panel in which Beinart is to participate is titled “The Young and Restless: Where are the Young American Jews?” Among the questions panelists will be addressing is “how do they think about the organized Jewish community?” The quick response to my initial blog post begins to answer this question. Young Jews are embarrassed by and alienated from a community that fails to embrace its own diversity.
We must continue to work together to hold ourselves accountable and to create communities that honor and learn from diversity. As Shifra Bronznick wrote to me, “This is what it looks like to make our revolution—knowing that none of us has to be out there alone—and that the voices of support and commitment will come from so many multiple sources.” May it always be so.