Building an engaged Jewish left


To the editor:

I have read with interest the ongoing dialogue in the Letters to the Editor from different elements of the Jewish community. I would like to introduce your readership to Jews For Racial & Economic Justice, a political and social activist organization whose work is informed by Jewish ethical values.

As the mother of young children, it is important for me to pass on Jewish traditions and culture to the next generation. Jewish rituals and holidays shape the rhythm of our family’s daily life. In order to continue to provide all children with the opportunities they deserve, we also need to draw on our heritage as a people who have continually fought for our rights, and the rights of others.

The Bronx JFREJ group meets monthly to talk politics and to organize around issues we care about. Next up is sharing information about the proposed city budget with our neighbors and encouraging our city representatives to push against austerity moves.

Funding for public schools — including the 3K program my daughter attends — is facing steep cuts, as are public libraries and the CUNY system. This would undermine programs that all families — especially poor, middle and working class families and families of color — rely on to make a good life in New York City possible.

As a response to the neo-Nazi, “Day of Hate” (Feb. 25), we came together to celebrate Havdalah publicly and with joy out on Johnson Avenue. JFREJ allows me to model Jewish ritual and political activism for my children.

Both are critical parts of Jewish tradition. I invite others to join us as we continue to build an engaged Jewish left in Riverdale.

You can do so here: JFREJ.org/community/neighborhood-groups.

Naomi Sharlin


The author is a member of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

Naomi Sharlin, Jewish, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice,