"What we talk about when we talk about Black/Jewish Relations: Past, Present and Future"
January 8, 2021
On January 20, 2021, the CNHP Board of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion presents its next distinguished presente from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.. Renown Black/Jewish relations, racism, anti-Semitism, and allyship expert Tema Smith will give a workshop that deals with a vital issue in our path toward allyship and justice.
Rising antisemitism and a growing societal awareness of systemic anti-Black racism have generated a renewed interest in the question of Black/Jewish relations. From the collaborative work between Black and Jewish communities during the Civil Rights Era, to the height of tensions that culminated in the Crown Heights Riots, to questions of allyship and shared struggles today, making sense of where our communities have been and where we are now is crucial to understanding what the future of Black/Jewish relations might look like.
Smith's presentation, "What we talk about when we talk about Black/Jewish Relations: Past, Present and Future" will explore the assumptions we make about the Black community and the Jewish community, and discuss points of connection that can bring us closer together in a shared fight for equity and justice.
Smith is a diversity advocate, writer and Jewish community builder. She is currently the director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly InterfaithFamily), an organization that empowers people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them. This comes after seven years as a synagogue professional, most recently as the director of Community Engagement at Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto’s oldest synagogue.
She is also a contributing columnist at The Forward whose writing has been published in MyJewishLearning, the Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Jewish News. Smith is dedicated to building a meaningful and inclusive Jewish community through research, training, writing and relational engagement work.
Over the past ten years, she has worked to advance the conversation on racially diverse Judaism, working with organizations like Be’chol Lashon, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Miles Nadal JCC, and conducting trainings and presentations for numerous Jewish organizations, including the Boston JCRC, the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Hillel International, Limmud North America, the JCRC of Greater Washington, the Buffalo JCRC, Hadassah, the AJC, and the ADL. Before beginning her career in Jewish communal service, Smith was a graduate student in Religion and Politics and Early Judaism under the supervision of the former Canada Research Chair in Modern Jewish Thought at McMaster University
in Hamilton, Ontario.