Civic Engagement Mission Statement
The Jewish Community Center of the East Bay serves a diverse community and people with various points of view. We provide space for civic discourse, offering opportunities to talk across differences, discover shared values, and establish respectful engagement.
The JCC East Bay stands for equal rights and safety for people of all backgrounds and faiths. We view this as a moral obligation. We welcome and support our diverse Jewish community, people of all religions, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, communities of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community.
What Civic Engagement Means to Us
We are committed to bringing you opportunities to learn about social issues, get involved, and make a difference - all while building and strengthening our local community. We were inspired by Tikkun Olam, the Jewish value that speaks to social justice and the importance of helping to make the world a better place. Traditional Jewish texts teach us that it is not any one person's duty to complete the work of repairing the world, but we are not free to neglect that work either (Pirkei Avot 2:21). We hope that you find these programs and resources to be an effective and fun way to make a positive impact!
Help Shape Our Programs
What can we do to make our programs more accessible? What social causes would you like to see us address?
Email your feedback to Alystar Sacks, Program Manager.
Black History Month Resource Page
February is Black History Month, and our 2021 guide is filled with opportunities to learn, delicious restaurants to support, family-friendly videos, and much more. Whether you want to find Black Jewish community of your own, or educate yourself on how to be an ally, this guide is made for you! Check back frequently as new resources will be added.
For Purim & International Women's Day
Thursday, February 25 to Monday, March 8
In the spirit of these two holidays, we'll be serving people (especially women) in need by donating much needed items to two local organizations! Drop off donations in the bin by the front door at 1414 Walnut St from 9am-5pm weekdays.
CLICK HERE for the list of items you can bring, to learn more about the organizations, and to find out what inspired this drive.
Peace in the Home
International Women's Day Workshop
Monday, March 8, 6-7pm
Presented in honor of International Women's Day, by the local organization Shalom Bayit, this workshop will cover what domestic violence and abusive relationships are, why it is important that we talk about them in the Jewish community, and what you can do to help a friend or loved one in crisis. All are welcome!
Multicultural Passover Freedom Seder
Tuesday, March 16 at 6pm
We are thrilled to be cosponsoring JCRC's Multicultural Passover Freedom Seder to celebrate our community as a bastion of freedom. Be part of this participatory, cross-cultural, interfaith exchange, and honor one of the most important Jewish holidays of the year! This is a critical moment to come together because we are living through a time of racism and xenophobia, and this event will inspire us to action in the year ahead. Now more than ever, the story of Passover is resonant with the systemic injustices and
inequities of our era. This year we will hear the important civic and elected voices who are in solidarity with our community at a time of rising antisemitism.
A new series of events brought to you in collaboration with Peninsula JCC, the Los Gatos JCC, and the Osher Marin JCC. Explore the history and meaning of protest with us through a contemporary and Jewish lens. Check back here for more events and resources, updated frequently!
Music in the Movements:
Jewish Women in the 1960s
Tuesday, March 23 at 2pm
Jewish women made up a disproportionate number of white activists in both the Civil Rights and Women's Liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s, and songs of protest and solidarity were interwoven into their activism. Come learn how and why these women fought for equality and how they used song to build and strengthen collective action. Featuring Betsy More, Ph.D., Director of Programs at Jewish Women's Archive.
Photo: Heather Booth playing guitar for Fannie Lou Hamer and others during the Freedom Summer Project in Mississippi, 1964. Courtesy of Wallace Roberts.
Jewbilee: Jewish Learning Experience
At this year’s Jewbilee, renew your commitment to improving our world by engaging with a range of community leaders immersed in the work of tikkun olam (social justice) or Chesed (social action). Choose between multiple opportunities to learn, explore and do, and get inspired to take ongoing action. Including special programs for teens and for young adults.
Jewish Disability Awareness Month
(from our friends at The Jewish Federations of North America)
Jewish Disability Advocacy Month 2021 (JDAM) is a month of virtual experiences, including in education, solidarity-building, and empowerment, in support of people with disabilities. The programming will be broken down into four topic areas, each taking place during one week in February.
Mapping Your Impact During Shelter in Place
How have our worlds changed since we began sheltering in place? Have they shrunk to the size of a room, or expanded through virtual connections? The pandemic has forced us to think globally and act locally more than ever. How might we visualize the impact we can have within our geographic and interpersonal circles? LABA East Bay fellows Dan Schifrin and Rachel Berger led a creative conversation about maps and our capacities to make a difference, with a guided map-making exercise.
Where to Start: MLK Day Workshop
Not sure where to get started on racial justice? This event for young professionals allowed participants to reflect on their relationship to race and Judaism, and how to get involved in MLK weekend volunteer opportunities. This event was created by Repair the World Bay Area, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay.
The Day After: A Post-Election Community Gathering
A powerful gathering that provided a space to be together, resources and tools to take action, and inspiration to move forward towards a more just and vibrant future for all.
Rabbi Adina Allen, Jewish Studio Project; Tonda Case, Jewish Women of Color Resilience Circle; Melissa Chapman, JCC East Bay; Tyler Gregory, Jewish Community Relations Council; Adrienne Mermin, Jewish Youth for Community Action; and Avi Rose, Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay.
Music by Candace Goodwin and Isaac Zones.
POWER THROUGH VOTING SERIES
In recognition of the 2020 election, and in collaboration with all seven Bay Area JCCs, we offered events and resources focused on getting out the vote and addressing voter suppression. This nonpartisan series will featured guest speakers, phone bank opportunities, discussion happy hours, and more. Explore our resources and event recordings here!
We were thrilled to kick-off our new series of Power through Voting programs on zoom! This 45 minute introduction spoke to the history of voter suppression and what we can do to make a difference. Featuring guest speaker Andrea Miller, founder of Reclaim Our Vote, part of the Center for Common Ground.
Due to a small glitch, the recording begins partway through a brief introduction. For a complete transcript of the introduction, click here.
The results of the November election are not only important for us as a society, but also for our own community. We were glad to have guest speaker Dr. Steven Windmueller join us on Zoom, where he shared a nonpartisan election analysis designed to educate about the diverse and significant roles Jews have played and continue to play in American politics. Dr. Windmueller's work in Jewish political behavior has been central to his research and writings. His 2014 book, The Quest for Power, seeks not only to define the nature of Judaism as a political system but to demonstrate how Jews have historically governed themselves over the course of their complex historical journey.
Check out these resources on the Jewish community’s involvement in voting and political movements throughout history!
Curated by the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's Legacy
Resources provided by the National Council of Jewish Women.
Celebrating Jews of Color
Race: What Our Kids Understand & How We Talk To Them About It, with Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith
Urban Adamah held a conversation with Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith about how to address race with our children during these particularly challenging times. This program reviewed the science behind children's understanding and refined tools for engaging in conversation. Event partners: Camp Tawonga and Eden Village West. Click here to watch the recording.
Staying in the Fight for Racial Justice: A Conversation with Yavilah McCoy and Eric Ward
This webinar from the National Council of Jewish Women explores how our fight for racial justice and our work combating antisemitism intersect. See Eric Ward, Executive Director of the Western States Center, and Yavilah McCoy, CEO of Dimensions Educational Consulting, discuss how we show up and stay in this critical work. View the recording here.
Reboot Ideas Conversation: Anti-Semantics Sifting Through Whiteness and Jewish Identities
This Reboot Ideas conversation features two authors: Adam Mansbach and Kevin Coval. Adam Mansbach is the author of the worldwide bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, the novels Rage is Back, Angry Black White Boy, and The End of the Jews (winner of the California Book Award) and a dozen other books. He wrote the award-winning screenplay for the Netflix Original BARRY, and his memoir, I Had A Brother Once, is forthcoming from One World/Random House in January. Kevin Coval is the author of Everything Must Go: The Life & Death of an American Neighborhood, A People's History of Chicago & ten other collections, & anthologies. He's the Creative Director and a founding editor of The BreakBeat Poets imprint on Haymarket Books. Check out the recording here.
In Defense of Democracy: Getting Out the Vote in an Age of Heightened Voter Suppression
The SF Black-Jewish (& Allies) Unity Group presented their third Forum on Racial and Economic Justice. In our increasingly divided political climate, the San Francisco Black-Jewish-(and Allies) Unity Group used a virtual forum to spark discussion among diverse groups to inform, build bridges and community, promote greater democratic participation, and turn back the tide of voter suppression. Watch the recording here.
ADL Supreme Court Review
The Anti-Defamation League partnered with the National Constitution Center for an annual Supreme Court Review, when distinguished legal scholars broke down the most important legal questions of the term, including separation of church and state, immigration and Title VII employment discrimination. They also discussed what to expect at the Supreme Court next year. Watch the recorded broadcast here.
PIVOT Conversation with Ilana Kaufman
The Osher Marin JCC Taube Center for Jewish Peoplehood recorded a conversation with Ilana Kaufman, Director of the Jews of Color Initiative. PIVOT is a serial program that explores this unique moment in time. In this interview, Kaufman shares her personal experience growing up Black and Jewish and the racism she experiences in the Jewish community. She provides an overview of this moment and the work that must be done by individuals and organizations to address racism that adversely impacts everyone. The interview is conducted by Joanne Greene, the Osher Marin JCC's Director of Jewish Engagement. Listen to the conversation here.