For Kol Ami Members and Friends
It is a tree of life to all that hold fast to her, all of her pathways are peace. Proverbs 3:18
There is a multitude of ways to invest in our world, in making our current reality increasingly just, peaceful, nurturing, and life-giving. Kol Ami, as a sacred community, has set our sites on racial justice, the inclusion of the marginalized in the Jewish community, healing our planet, and a dedication to personal wellness and mental health. No small tasks around these parts. We like to think big. And we are not just paying lip service. We are investing our time, energy, and resources in the betterment of our society. This is religious work. And it needs to be done religiously.
Starting on January 24th Kol Ami is engaging in a 7-week intensive program of consciousness-raising and plan-making in our effort to increase racial justice and inclusion in our world. We will begin at home with our Kol Ami community. We are asking:
Will you be involved?
Will you commit to 7 weeks of learning and engagement?
If you are within a marginalized demographic might you participate and share your experiences with the group?
Dates: 1/24--31, 2021- 2/7-14-21-28, 2021 from 10:00am-11:30am PT
Find the registration link in Hakol our weekly newsletter or contact
Please join us in a semester of learning for our community that we hope will lead to actions and advocacy for inclusivity, environmental justice, and a deepening of our own sense of well-being and joy as we incorporate Jewish texts and values into our study.
This program is designed for adults from 10th grade to senior citizens. You can participate during any section or the entire semester.
Starting January 24 through April 18, 2021 from 10:00am -11:30am PT
Register here for the first 7 weeks on Racial Justice and Inclusion here
The program, called Breathe, includes three tracks:
• Racial Justice and Inclusion
• Environmental Justice/Eco-Judaism
• Personal wellbeing and self-development
Rabbi Kinberg used the theme of Breathe on Rosh Hashana eve 5781 to weave together a call to action for us as a community. I’m excerpting some of her words below.
• Inclusion: Racial Justice and reconciliation are not optional. For us, it must be a mandate. To create a world where all humans with life breath are honored as precious and important.
• Environment: We need to understand our place as humans within this ecosystem. We are here to nurture and tend this gift of the most awesome garden.
• Personal wellbeing and self-development: Our breath and our soul, our wellbeing physically and spiritually are interconnected in our tradition and it is a lovely and much-needed inheritance from our ancestors.
In Hebrew Neshima/breath נשימה and neshama/soul נשמה share the same root. We show our praise and gratitude when we care for our wellness-we nurture our souls and bodies.
As part of a group of Kol Ami adults who commenced upon 21 weeks of racial equity program of study in June, I recommend this whole-heartedly. While the 21 weeks finished in November, 12 of us have continued our work of unlearning racial biases. We had something else result from this work as Ellie Hochman put it:
“In addition to the learning, the welcome, support, intellectual challenges and connection that you have all provided to me and my husband Sandy Voit has been so valuable. This connection and finding another "Jewish Home" has been a bright light in an otherwise difficult year. It has provided us ways to "open our hearts" as we have had to restrict our comings and goings and seeing those we love. I have such gratitude!!!"
Please join our learning cycle and community. We’ll be starting Breathe with a 7-week workshop on racial justice and inclusion for people of color and others who have been marginalized in Jewish places, for example people with disabilities, LGTBQ+ or neuro-atypical. Grounded in Jewish text and values, we’ll be working with two facilitators who are both Jews of color and trained in building inclusive communities. We’ll bring our own personal goals to the class on unlearning racism and practicing inclusion.
By the end of 7 weeks, we will jointly develop an action plan for Kol Ami to become more inclusive, social action and advocacy activities we can undertake individually and collectively, and ways to expand this work through multifaith efforts. PLEASE NOTE: for this section, the facilitators have requested a commitment to attend all classes.*
We’ll take the same approach to address personal wellbeing and self-development, and environmental action. As we complete our semester of learning, we’ll also celebrate the growth of our community and connections with each other. Everything will be virtual – although we hope to celebrate the learning in person as soon as we can do so safely. Please bring your voices and ideas to our egalitarian, inclusive center for Jewish Life.
*This applies ONLY to the first 7 sessions on Racial Justice and Inclusion.
Breathe: Racial Justice and Inclusion Facilitators:
Tamar Ghidalia (she/her) is a Jew of Color of Sephardic (Spanish) heritage who was born in Tunisia, fled with her family to France, and subsequently immigrated to Israel and then to the U.S. She has a B.A. in Education and Hebrew Literature from Paris Sorbonne University and a B.A. in Music from the Conservatoire de Paris. Tamar is an educator and professional musician with 30+ years of experience in leadership, mentoring, program building, curriculum development and program management. Most recently, she worked for six years as the Executive Director of Urban Arts Academy, a non-profit serving students and families through art-infused education.
Tamar is now an independent consultant whose passions include: promoting racial equity, diversity and inclusion; teaching Jewish texts and culture; using art-infused education to support the healthy development of diverse children and youth; and developing partnerships between organizations to collaborate for success.
Jill (she/her) was raised in Claremont, CA and received her B.A. from California State University, Long Beach. Early on, she studied French, Spanish, and molecular biology; she graduated in Fashion & Merchandising. She is currently a buyer for a contemporary women's boutique and a loving caregiver for her mother.
Most recently, she is focusing on Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) work, serving as a REDI consultant for local and national Jewish communities.
Jill completed the 2019-2020 URJ’s (DEI) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion JewV’Nation Fellowship (she is now an alumni) and the Don't Kvetch Community Organizing training through Bend the Arc.
She is passionate about Judaism, sustainable fashion solutions, food, and reggae music, and she believes that coffee is the elixir of life. In her free time, Jill can be found working in her garden, spending time at the gym, and experimenting in the kitchen with vegetarian dishes.
Dates: 1/24--31, 2021- 2/7-14-21-28, 2021 from 10:00am-11:30am PT
Racial Justice and Inclusion
Exploring Diversity in the Jewish Community
Explore Identities Recognizing,Understanding & Correcting
Micro-Aggressions/Reconsidering Color Blindness 1
Micro-Aggressions/Reconsidering Color Blindness 2
Dig deep in the 4 levels of Oppression
Systematic Inequity and Equity
Simyyum/Wrap Up: Where do we go from here.
Eco-Judaism 1 Earth Stewards
Eco-Judaism 2 Food and Healing
Eco-Judaism 3 Rabbinic Call to Action
Personal Wellbeing and Self-development
Judaism as a Wellness Path 1 Body/Movement
Judaism as a Wellness Path 2 Mind A Playground for Thinkers
Judaism as a Wellness Path 3 Spirit
Connecting to the Source of Wellness: Prayer and Contemplation
Look for links in Hakol, our weekly newsletter.