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What is Juneteenth?

The First Juneteenth - two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger issued the following proclamation ending slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

What Is Juneteenth? African American History Blog | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross 

Juneteenth in the Jewish Community

‘Juneteenth this year is a whole new ballgame’ — 9 Black Jews on the holiday of liberation
Juneteenth celebrates one of the most important events in American history: the end of slavery. June 19, 1865, was Galveston, Texas, finally freed its enslaved people — the last place in the United States to do so.

Now, 155 years later, the country is convulsed by a critical conversation about the systemic racism that is rooted in its history with slavery. And while Juneteenth, widely seen as a kind of African-American independence day, has for years been marked with picnics, parades and programs in many black communities, it is having a more mainstream moment this year.

June 17: Juneteenth 2021: How American Jews are reflecting on a year of racial reckoning

Last summer’s historic protests reverberated across the country and the Jewish world has been struggling to meet the moment. How effective have the efforts been? What else can Jews do to fight for racial justice?

Rabbi Sandra Lawson of Reconstructing Judaism and Tema Smith, a Forward contributing columnist, will join our editor-in-chief, Jodi Rudoren, for their second annual Juneteenth conversation.

This Juneteenth, a 'Kaddish for Black Lives' The Washington Jewish Week

“We are lifting up the suggestion of Black Jewish journalist Robin Washington and we are asking our friends and allies in the Jewish community — Jews of Color and White Jews, Sephardic and Mizrachi and Ashkenazi, religious and secular, in private or on Zoom — to recite a Kaddish for Black Lives during this Shabbat,” the organization said on its Facebook page. “Depending on your practice, you may choose to recite it along with the traditional Kaddish or, after candle lighting, join us in reciting Psalm 31 (traditionally said to ward off hatred) on this special Juneteenth Shabbat.”

Juneteenth Kabbalat Shabbat Tickets, Fri, Jun 18, 2021 at 2:00 PM
Co-sponsored by 18 Doors, JCC Manhattan, One Table, PJ Library, URJ, NMAJH, Reconstructing Judaism

Community Resources on Race and the African American Community

Virginia African American Cultural Center
The Virginia African American Cultural Center is a public-private partnership between the Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc. and the City of Virginia Beach, to collect, preserve, interpret, inform and celebrate Viginia's African-American history, culture, and community and to educate the public about African Americans' contributions in all areas of endeavor.

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities
The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities works with schools, businesses, and communities to achieve success by addressing prejudices, in all forms, in order to improve academic achievement, increase workplace productivity, and enhance local trust. Through workshops, retreats, and customized programs that raise knowledge, motivation, and skills, VCIC develops leaders who work together to achieve success throughout the Commonwealth. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture 
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.



United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
5000 Corporate Woods Dr., Suite 200  | Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
757.965.6100 | info@ujft.org

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