We provided foundational Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) training to every member of our staff including our 15 summer camps and provided critical resources to our affiliated communities. Together, we trained over 3,300 people in 2022 and have more training sessions and ongoing REDI support groups continuing throughout 2023.
Last year, the URJ’s camps developed a REDI Working Group & Camp Assessment process, helping leadership teams identify gaps in their REDI approaches. These working groups helped create custom road maps for each camp as they continue to build equitable communities where campers of all backgrounds can experience wholeness and a sense of belonging.
The URJ partnered with Keshet and The Jewish Grandparents Network in a four-part educational series to help grandparents better affirm and express their love for their transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive grandchildren. Nearly 600 grandparents and cherished elders registered for the sessions; this was the first URJ experience for nearly half of the participants, who were all invited to ongoing affinity spaces to provide support and resources to grandparents and guardians of trans and non-binary youth.
The URJ and RAC affirmed identities of all kinds in teen spaces, creating in-person and online affinity spaces for Jewish Teens of Color and prioritizing the use of “Inclusive Checklists” in NFTY programming.
The RAC hosted REDI 101 virtual seminars throughout the year. These seminars addressed racism, transphobia, ableism, and other forms of hatred in Jewish communities while helping participants create communities of belonging for everyone.
These seminars provided over 3,300 participants with shared language and deeper understandings of experiences that are commonly faced by those with marginalized identities in our communities. This training also served as an introduction to the many other REDI opportunities the URJ offers.
In 2022, the URJ deepened teen engagement in justice work, particularly focusing on our shared humanity. Some of our initiatives included implementing safe space trainings created by NFTY teens and alumni that focused on inclusion and consent at NFTY events; deepening the RAC Teen Justice Fellows’ understanding of their own sources of privilege and oppression while exploring how mental health intersects with racial justice; streamlining the process for teens to select housing that affirms their gender at NFTY events; and hosting affinity spaces at L’Taken teen seminars for Jews of Color to meet for lunch and connect with each other and staff.