Moving Towards Action and Accountability
Moving Towards Action and Accountability
In the first two programs of our series, we had the opportunity to hear firsthand about one family’s experience growing up Black in suburban Maryland, and then to learn from a multi-generational panel of Jews of Color about their experiences with Jewish life in Greater Washington.
In part three of our series, we will continue to learn from a distinguished panel of Jews of Color and allies: Tema Smith, Yoshi Silverstein, and Rabbi Esther Lederman, in conversation with Yolanda Savage-Narva, as they explore questions about how we—as individuals and as a Jewish community—become more accountable for our actions.
Together, we will continue building our collective understanding of the role of race in our community and answering the difficult questions of how we each step into our individual and communal roles of dismantling racism in our community. We hope that this event will encourage us all to move towards a place of action and growth.
Zoom link provided upon registration.
This is part three of a three-part series presented by Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy.
If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Klein at [email protected].
To help you on your journey to address race, racism, diversity, and inclusion, explore these useful resources.
Yolanda Savage-Narva, MSEd. (she/her) is the Director for Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). The URJ’s Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) work, partly supported by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, largely focuses on addressing racial justice and equity in all its forms, and also addresses homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. In this role, Savage-Narva will lead, develop, and expand organizational and movement-wide inclusion efforts for the URJ, which leads the largest, most diverse movement in Jewish life.
Savage-Narva, who serves currently as a lay leader of the Reform Movement’s Commission on Social Action, will join the leadership of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) in Washington, DC, and oversee the URJ’s daily work of Audacious Hospitality, the focused effort to incorporate REDI principles and practices throughout congregations, camps, youth programs, and internally within the URJ.
Savage-Narva’s extensive experience leading racial equity and justice work in faith-based organizations includes serving as Vice Chair of the RAC’s Commission on Social Action, Co-Chair of the RAC’s Racial Justice Task Force, and in advisory roles for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Repair the World.
Prior to joining the URJ, Savage-Narva was Executive Director of Operation Understanding DC, a non-profit whose mission is to create a generation of leaders to promote respect, understanding, and cooperation while fighting to eradicate racism, antisemitism, and all forms of discrimination. She has participated in the URJ’s JewV’Nation Fellowship and in the Schusterman Fellowship.
Tema Smith is a diversity advocate, writer and Jewish community builder. She is currently the Director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly InterfaithFamily). 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. Tema is also a contributing columnist at The Forward whose writing has been published in MyJewishLearning, the Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Jewish News. She has worked with organizations like Be’chol Lashon, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Miles Nadal JCC, CJPAC, and speaks and trains frequently on racial equity and diversity for synagogues and Jewish organizations across North America
Rabbi Esther L. Lederman serves as Director of Congregational Innovation at the Union for Reform Judaism. Prior to that role, she was the Associate Rabbi at Temple Micah in Washington, DC. She was ordained in May 2008 from HUC-JIR. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from McGill University in 1996. Rabbi Lederman sits on the national Board of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, chairs the Advisory council of Avodah in Washington and serves on the national board of Ameinu, a national, progressive Zionist organization. In addition, she sits on the board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she now makes her home in Virginia with her husband and two children.
Yoshi Silverstein is Founder and Executive Director of Mitsui Collective, which builds resilient community through embodied Jewish practice and racial equity. Selected as a 2021 “Grist 50 Fixer” building a more just and equitable future, Yoshi was formerly Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon, through which he catalyzed the growth and leadership of over 60 emerging professionals working across the US and Canada in the realm of Jewish relationship to land, food, culture, climate, and community. A Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew, Yoshi is an active advocate and educator in the Jews of Color community. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Repair the World, is a member of the Grants Advisory Group for the Jews of Color Initiative, and is Cleveland community organizer for Edot: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative. Yoshi earned his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland with a thesis exploring Jewish landscape journey and experience, and holds certificates in spiritual entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, permaculture design, and environmental education. He is also a cohort six Schusterman Fellow and part of M² Institute for Experiential Jewish Education’s inaugural Jewish Pedagogies Circle. Yoshi lives in the Cleveland area with his wife, daughter, and pup.