January 9, 2023 | 16 Tevet 5783
Beacons of Hope: Our Interreligious S/Heroes
By Shelton Oakley Hersey, Dignity Project Fellowship Program Director
Each month, we will honor an individual (or group) who inspires the bridge-building efforts of the Miller Center. Each honoree embodies the values of inclusivity, justice, and compassion in different and unique ways.
Dignity Project Fellowship Program Director Shelton Oakley Hersey, Assistant Director Rafi Ellenson, and the Dignity Project mentors nominate the 2022-23 Dignity Project Cohort. The fellowship consists of 21 local high school students "who have continued to show commitment and courage in engaging across their various lines of difference." In this video, the fellows share one thing they learned from their time in the fellowship that they will take with them as they continue being agents of change for their communities.
Learn more about the Dignity Project and this year's fellows on our website.
What It Means To Be A Community of Practice
By Rafi Ellenson, Dignity Project Fellowship Assistant Director
The Dignity Project is a community of practice. This means that when a problem arises, we adapt and work toward a solution that aligns with our shared values, addresses our common concerns, and helps us put our theoretical learning into practice.
A few weeks ago, an invited speaker on implicit bias discussed Dave Chappelle’s recent monologue on Saturday Night Live. Chappelle’s humor, while beloved by some, is considered controversial and/or offensive by others. This proved to be true in our community as well. Fellows and staff responded to the monologue very differently. Was it insightful, playful, insulting, damaging—perhaps some of each?
After a month of planning with stakeholders—fellows and others—the staff of the Dignity Project decided to dedicate one of our community-building days to tackling the issues raised by Chappele’s monologue head-on, including anti-semitism, racism, and whiteness.
We would practice what we preach by preparing for the meeting by (re)watching the video clip itself carefully and reading or viewing several responses to it. During the meeting, we dedicated time to a careful analysis of Chappelle’s words and presentation style, and we spent time in structured dialogue—smaller and larger configurations—with guiding questions.
Our goal was to explore the notion that solidarity is not a zero-sum game; that is to say, people from different communities can learn to honor and defend their rights and freedoms and do the same for others. As part of this exploration, we discussed some of the specific challenges African American and Jewish communities have experienced as marginalized groups in the United States, and their complex history of allyship and tension.
I am pleased to report that our community delved in to this discussion with care and thoughtfulness. Fellows and staff alike bravely shared their perspectives, opinions, and narratives, creating a rich tapestry for reflection. Most importantly, we genuinely attempted to listen to one another.
While we certainly did not expect Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue to be a central component of our Dignity Project learning this year, it provided us with a challenging, real-life opportunity to put our dialogical skills to work. Members of our group continue to disagree about various aspects of the comedian’s remarks and public responses to it, but we all agree on the importance of exploring such matters with integrity and dignity.
You're Invited: Dignity Project Closing Celebration
January 16, 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Hebrew College's New Campus
Please join the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College for our Dignity Project Fellowship closing celebration!
The 2022-2023 high school fellows will share insights from their interreligious and cross-cultural journey together. The celebratory gathering will include music, writing, dialogue, and a service opportunity. The celebration is open to the public and children of all ages are warmly welcomed. The event will take place at Hebrew College's new campus: 1860 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02466.
Additional Upcoming Events and Courses
Dare to Dream: MLK & Heschel
Join Miller Center Founding Director Rabbi Or Rose and Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman of Spentem on Sunday, January 15, 2023 at 8:00-9:15pm via Zoom in an event hosted by the Jewish Community Day School's Parent Association (Va’ad Horim).
Each year in honor of MLK's national holiday, JCDS provides an opportunity for the community to learn together about a justice issue at the core of MLK's work and reflect on our connection to and responsibility for sustaining that work as Jews today. This year, Rabbi Rose and Imam Abdur-Rahman will focus on the relationship forged by Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (d. 1972), whose 50th yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing) we mark this month.
Hasidic Narratives of Spiritual Growth, Loss, and Renewal on Zoom with Rabbi Or Rose
Hebrew College is hosting a six-session series on Thursdays from 7PM-9PM starting on February 23.
The course will examine a variety of stories composed by Eastern European Jewish mystical leaders and followers as they encounter the beauties, mysteries, and challenges of daily life.
Cost: $228, generous financial aid is available. Please contact Hebrew College Me'ah for any questions. This course is open to all adult learners.
About the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center of Hebrew College
The Miller Center was established in 2016 in honor of Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller (of blessed memory), MAJS’05. Our mission is to provide current and future religious and ethical leaders with the knowledge and skills to serve in a religiously diverse society.
Please consider supporting this important work with a financial gift. Thank you!
Manage your preferences | Opt Out using TrueRemove™
Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.
View this email online.
Hebrew College 160 Herrick Road | Newton Centre, MA 02459 US
This email was sent to .
To continue receiving our emails, add us to your address book.