Jewish Community Building as Resistance

By Adam Beardsley

Upon moving to Washington, D.C., I made an effort to find a Jewish community to be a part of. I was able to find one pretty quickly. I joined a group called If Not Now, which focuses mostly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and creating a discussion within the American Jewish community that will hopefully change the American Jewish attitude towards Israel.

While If Not Now has done some great stuff to help start this conversation, I think one of the most important things If Not Now has done is give a few thousand (mostly young) Jews across the country a liberal Jewish community where they can talk about politics. We have joined each other for weekly Shabbat dinners where we have discussed everything from job searches to politics to comparing our own Jewish traditions.

During these dinners, we have built a community: a community that has already proven willing and able to fight for what is right; a community that welcomes Jews regardless of gender, race, sexuality, or how religious one is; a community that just by existing — by being a stable, accepting community in a time of such hatred and confusion — is resisting in a wonderful way.

This type of community is not unique to If Not Now. I have felt it at the Jewish Children’s Folkshul in Philadelphia, and I have felt it at CSJO. I hope you all have found this type of community, whether it is at your shul, with a group of friends, or just for a few hours around a Seder table this past week.

I look forward to seeing, and resisting with, all of you at the 2017 CSJO Conference in June.