A New IOWA Project Curriculum
Dismantling Racism from the Inside Out is a course and community of practice that equips participants with daily concrete Jewish spiritual tools of Mussar to confront, subvert, and heal implicit and internalized racism within ourselves and others, supporting the collective organizing, advocacy and service-work efforts to dismantle racism systemically.
To dismantle racism in our society at large and in each of us, we need to create personal and communal transformation in addition to systemic change. Antiracism work is not easy, and we need support in order to be in it for the long-haul. We need tools to ensure we don't replicate the very dynamics of white supremacy and racism that we’re working to undo; tools to effectively, sustainably, and successfully build a better world.
We’re currently in the process of piloting the curriculum, and will be making it more widely available in early 2023. Sign up to receive news and updates on the launch of this program, below:
Join us in Dismantling Racism from the Inside Out
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Whether you're looking to bring this to your synagogue or organization, get trained to facilitate the curriculum, or participate online or within your community, please fill out the form that best suits your needs, and we'll reach back out soon!
Dismantling Racism from the Inside Out is an approach to understanding and implementing the “how” of healing racial bias that draws on the Jewish wisdom and practice of Mussar. This approach is based on the following conceptual frameworks:
The Dynamic Tension between Hierarchies of Care and Balance of Care
All communities and groups create hierarchies of care that naturally privilege those closest to the self. Jewish tradition expresses this system of prioritization, offering hierarchies of philanthropic giving/Tzedakah. These hierarchies of care become distorted in racialized contexts, perpetuating racist hierarchies that uphold white supremacy and reinforce anti-Blackness. To heal ourselves and transform our social systems we need to actualize a balance of care, particularly regarding people of African heritage.
Behaviors Change Attitudes
Implicit biases and unconscious adverse behaviors towards people of African heritage can change through concrete acts of care. External action often impacts our internal reality more than cognition alone.
Jewish Spiritual Practice
The Jewish spiritual practice of Mussar is designed to get the heart to feel what the head knows through concrete action. The language of the heart is practice and Mussar is a discipline of concrete acts of practice. Mussar uses a framework of middot/character traits to organize a program of growth, drawing on Torah wisdom about the traits and concrete practice to integrate ideas into the whole self.
Dismantling Racism from the Inside Out
This program is a multi-session experience that guides participants in the application of both anti-racism and Mussar learning and practice.
This Course will help you:
Confront and undo white supremacy culture and racist dynamics in ourselves, social justice movements, and communal institutions with the use of mussar wisdom and tools, to be more successful, both personally and collectively, in racial justice efforts
Sustain yourself and others in the fight for racial justice with Jewish spiritual practice to resist burnout and continue to grow people power
Subvert hierarchies of race, power, and care by moving into a balance of care for self, fellows (targeted by anti-Black racism), opponents, and a connection with YHVH/Spirit
Connect dismantling racism and Torah, grounding anti-racist practice as an expression of Jewish values and a pathway to serve YHVH/Spirit
This course is for you if you are a:
Racial justice trainer, organizer, advocate or educator looking to add Jewish spiritual wisdom, practices, and nourishment to your toolbox
Member or leader of a Jewish community or group that cares about racial justice and is interested in integrating Jewish spiritual practice as foundational support to your efforts
Social justice organization or communal institution that’s seeking support in embedding anti-racism within your community, using spiritual practice as the tool of transformation
This curriculum was developed by Yehudah Webster and Rabbi David Jaffe, with support from Dan Gelbtuch.
Our Pilot Organizations
Our Pilot Facilitators
Rabbi David Jaffe,
Rabbi Benjamin Barnett
Dona Hare Price
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife
Rabbi Michael Ramberg
Rabbi Robin Podolsky
Rabbi Sandra Lawson