Dear friends across the Reconstructionist movement,
These are challenging and uncertain times. One of the things we’ve been hearing a lot from lay leaders and rabbis in many of our communities is the desire to reaffirm and strengthen our shared Jewish values of diversity, inclusion, respect, and welcoming. During the recent meeting of the Plenum, for example, some participants spoke about their congregations’ desire to stand up to bigotry and intimidation in light of the recent increase in acts of hate against various minority communities, including our own.
One small step that congregations can take is to post messages of welcome and inclusivity at the entrances or passageways of their meeting places. Of course, posting a message isn’t a substitute for the study, work, and growth involved in deeper change. But it can make an important difference, even for a single person, and the conversations it can spark can build bridges of compassion and solidarity.
Our Thriving Communities department, with help from our Communications and design staff, has created a mini-poster that expresses these progressive Jewish values in an overt message of welcoming. We’ve created two versions of this “Welcome Poster”: one formatted for hi-res printing on letter size paper, and one formatted for 11” x 17”.
If your community likes the poster, please feel free to print out as many as you wish. We recommend color printing on glossy or other high grade paper, and we suggest displaying it at entrances or high-traffic passageways. If you don’t have a color printer or aren’t able to print the larger size in-house, we suggest that you contact a local copy shop to find out if they can help.
If your community would like us to make printed copies available to ship to you, please reply to Maurice Harris at MHarris@ReconstructingJudaism.org with that request. If we receive multiple requests, we’ll find a way to make that option available.
Finally, if you do decide to display the Welcome Poster, we ask only one thing: we’d love to receive digital photos of the poster hanging proudly in your community. The essence of the poster is the foundational Jewish belief that all human beings are created in the Divine image. A final thought, from Elie Wiesel, z’l: “We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”
In shalom and hope,
The Department of Thriving Communities