The Jewish Federation & Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee stand in solidarity with our neighbors in the African American community and people of conscience everywhere in expressing our outrage and sorrow at the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Sadly, this is one more tragic example of the persistent underlying racism that continues to impact American communities.
Judaism is clear about our obligation to not stand idly by in the face of injustice and to protect the life and dignity of every person as we are all created in B'Tselem Elokim - in God's image. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "In a free society, only some may be guilty but all are responsible."
We take responsibility to listen and learn from those who have experienced these tragedies and who live with the fear and pain of racism every day. We urge our elected officials and our law enforcement leaders to take positive action that will result in meaningful change in our community. And we pledge to continue working with the religious, civic and political leaders locally to create a better Nashville for our children, and our children's children. Working together, we will overcome and we will prevail.
 
What can we do now?  
 
1. Breath: These multiple stressors are affecting us physically, emotionally and psychologically.    Even the strongest among us are tested to the limit.  You are not alone, and help is available.  The 20 minute COVID-19 conversations  being offered by Jewish Family Services is a good place to start: www.jfsnashville.org.
 
2. Learn:  Every Friday at noon, Community Relations Committee is hosting virtual lunch and learn sessions on issues of concern.  Past guests include elected officials and civic leaders.  Rabbi Saul Strosberg, Sherith Israel, will be our guest this coming Friday, June 5 to speak about the Jewish tradition of giving and receiving help and the desire for justice: www.facebook.com/events/2753170151582395/  
 
3. Connect:  While we still must follow guidelines on how many people can be together in person, there are still ways to be in community and social solidarity even with physical distance.  Join us for CRC book group, How to be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.  Local facilitators will lead these discussions.  To participate please message Deborah Oleshansky, Deborah@jewishnashville.org    Additionally all of our local Jewish congregations are offering ways to connect spiritually, including a 4pm session on Tuesday with Rabbi Kullock , West End Synagogue and Rabbi Laurie Rice, Congregation Micah which will be live streamed from both. Information on all local Congregations can be found in the Guide to Jewish Nashville: www.jewishnashville.org/welcome-to-nashville
 
4. Advocate: We will continue to work with community partners, including NOAH, Tennessee Justice Center, Tennessee Equality Project, League of Women Voters, Jewish Council for Public Affairs and National Council of Jewish Women,  to share about virtual rallies and other advocacy efforts for city, state and national issues.   Currently, many of us are working to ensure that the Metro Nashville Budget truly reflects the needs of the people: linktr.ee/nashvillepeoplesbudget
 
5. Volunteer: Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help others.  Volunteer opportunities can be found here: jewishnashville.galaxydigital.com/