Celebrating Our Roots, Resistance, Resilience | In the Bones of our Ancestors | BWC enews

Dear Friend,
2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the revival of Boston Workmen's Circle. We will celebrate our roots stretching back to Jewish sweatshop workers at the turn of the 19th century; our resilience that brought our founder's language, culture and traditions into the new millennium; and our legacy of resistance to injustice. 
Each week this month, we will bring you a story from one of our members about these themes of Roots, Resistance, and Resilience. Today, I write to share a piece of mine.
Recently I have been seeking to deepen my connection with my ancestors. This week I discovered a postcard that has been with my family for 75 years. It was written to my Grandma Sonia in Brooklyn, from her sister Chana in Warsaw, postmarked February 20, 1941. To my knowledge, this is the last communication we received from our family. They didn't make it out of Warsaw: 

"My darling sister and daughter thank you for your post card. I am really glad you are without problems. We also, thank the lord, are without problems. Mother lives together with me. My darling sister and your daughter, send me a bag of food that I can eat. Wish you are without problems."
Signed, Chana, Julia, Fela, Mark, David, Basia
When people ask me as a white Jewish woman deeply engaged in the work of racial justice who I am accountable to, I am very clear that I am accountable to my ancestors. I am accountable to Chana, Julia, Fela, Mark, David and Basia.
Seventeen years ago I had a transformative experience in an anti-racism training that helped me to see the world we live in through a different lens. My world view shifted as I came to understand modern day racism and how it impacts people of color on a daily basis. Part of my heart opened, and part of my heart broke, as I also came to understand how my family, who descends from people who were killed because of Hitler's brand of white supremacy, now benefit from white privilege. I've realized I am in good company with so many of you who are also walking around with broken hearts because of these systems of oppression.
I believe that one day we will dismantle the systems of anti-semitism, racism and white supremacy. I'm beginning to realize that we will be most effective in doing this work if we do it as whole people, if we can work to heal our broken hearts alongside our work for justice. On January 20th, I am launching a project called, "In the Bones of Our Ancestors," to explore the dual roles that white Jews hold in the systems of anti-semitism and racism and to look at our paths to healing our broken hearts.Please see below for more details about the workshop.

I invite you to make a meaningful contribution today to sustain our work to reach for our roots, to resist injustice, and to celebrate our collective resilience.

With deep love,
Jen Kiok
Executive Director
In the Bones of Our Ancestors Workshop
On January 20th, Jen Kiok will be offering a day-long workshop for white Jews to explore our dual roles in the systems of white supremacy, racism and anti-semitism. The day will be grounded in heart space and guided by the understanding that we must heal from these systems as we work to dismantle them.
The goals of this work are:
  • Personal and collective healing and transformation from the ways we, and our ancestors, have been harmed and have harmed others through white supremacy.
  • To be effective and whole in our work to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves and in the world.
The long term vision of this work is to experience collective liberation alongside all those who will celebrate with us once white supremacy has crumbled.
A year ago on January 20th, a white supremacist was inaugurated as the president of the United States. In the past year, the racism, anti-semitism and white supremacy of our country has been re-exposed. This year on January 20th, we will gather to vision our way to a different future. It's easy to look outside ourselves to make change; this is an invitation to look within.
This workshop was partially inspired by and developed with support from Eleanor Hancock at White Awake.
Featured Events & Programs: Please Join Us! shabes
Muslim Bans, Refugee Bans, Ending DACA: A Threat to Our Freedoms
Tuesday, December 5th, 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM, 
Harvard Law School, Hauser Hall, Room 102
We are proud to co-sponsor this important event! The latest discriminatory wave of legislative attacks from the Trump Administration are part of a continuum of exclusionary, xenophobic and racist policies that promote white supremacy and discrimination on the basis of faith, national origin, and immigration status. Come participate in an important discussion on how we got here, what's at stake, and what actions you can take. Learn more
Shule Labor Protest: Stop the Deportations | Free Francisco & Siham
Sunday, December 10th, 2:00 PM, 20 Bradston St, Boston

Join the Shule 5th grade students as they call for an end to unjust immigration laws and practices, and stand in solidarity with Francisco Rodriguez, Siham Byah, and all those detained by ICE and facing deportation. The children's labor protest is inspired by the history of Jewish immigrant workers who toiled in textile sweatshops. Help put pressure on ICE by marching with our 5th grade class. Learn more.

Circle Book Group: "You Say To Brick, the Life of Louis Kahn"

Sunday, December 10th, 10:15 AM @ member's home in Cambridge
Wendy Lesser's "You Say to Brick" is a major exploration of the architect's life and work. Join us to discuss a new book each month with bagels, coffee and socializing! This is an open group that welcomes all readers interested in expanding their understanding of the wide variety of Jewish experiences throughout history and across the world. Learn more. adulted
Gragger Purimshpiel: Calling All Writers
Monday, December 11th, 7-9 PM @ BWC
Each year, young adults of the Workers Circle perform a radical retelling of the Purim story at Gragger, our annual Raucous and Radical Purim Party. Join the amazing team of writers for a fun and collaborative process. This meeting is open to all who are interested in helping craft the Purimshpiel. B.Y.O.Dinner! We'll provide the hamantaschen! RSVP to Liz .

Radical Chanukah Party
Thursday, December 14th, 6:30 PM @ BWC
The Boston Worker's Circle Young Adult Committee and Moishe Kavod House are partnering to invite you to join us for a night of latke frying, Klezmer Jam-ming, Socialist dreidel, and the classic biblical mitzvah of human-menorah building! Let's celebrate the light together in the tradition of our people! Learn more
Family Chanukah Party
Sunday, December 17th, 11:00 AM @ Runkle School, 50 Druce St, Brookline
Join the Workmen's Circle Center for Jewish Culture and Social Justice for a fun-filled Hanukkah party that celebrates hope and freedom for all. This family-oriented celebration with musical performances, singing and lots of latkes welcomes all families, Jewish and non-Jewish. Learn more
Gragger Planning Meeting
Tuesday, December 19th, 7-9 PM, @ BWC
Calling all hamantaschen bakers, artists, volunteer coordinators, and setter and cleaner uppers! Join the Young Adult Committee to bring into being Gragger, the 11th annual Raucous and Radical Purim Party, with live music and a killer DJ! Bring your logistical minds and creative vision! B.Y.O.Dinner! We'll provide the hamantaschen! RSVP to Liz.
Clean DREAM Act Phone Banking
Wednesday, December 20th 6:30-8:30pm, a home in Jamaica Plain

As a member organization of the #JewishResistanceTable, we are hosting a phonebank to make time-sensitive calls to Members of Congress to press them to support a clean Dream Act. Join our Acting for Racial and Economic Justice (AFREJ) and Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary (IJS) Committees in making some important phone calls! You must bring your own laptop or computer (not a tablet or smartphone), as well as a cell phone and charger to participate. Contact Libby for address. RSVP required by December 18th
Ongoing Meetings, Classes, Events
Jewish Muslim Solidarity Committee Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, December 6th, 7:00 PM @ BWC
Through political action, relationship building, and community education, the Jewish Muslim Solidarity Committee works to foster positive connections between Jews and Muslims in Greater Boston and joins with the Muslim community in opposing Islamophobia in all its manifestations. Learn more.
Yiddish Svive
Friday, December 8th, 7:00 PM
Meet up with fellow Yiddish-speaking young adults to share a potluck meal, have a game night, play music, or just redn a yidish vort (speak a little Yiddish). This month's svive is especially geared toward all Yiddish students, regardless of age. We'll sing (and teach!) Chanukah songs. Learn more
Boston Workmen's Circle Yiddish vinkls, or conversation groups, meet twice a month in different member homes. Whatever your level of Yiddish, this is an opportunity to sharpen your Yiddish skills in a comfortable and informal setting. Drop in anytime! All generations welcome. Learn more.
  • SOMERVILLE: Thursday, December 14th, 8-10 PM. For location and directions, contact Mike or Linda at katzgritz@gmail.com.
  • BROOKLINE: Monday, December 18th, 7:30-9:30 PM. 1731 Beacon Street, #319, Brookline.  
Yiddish Sing
Thursday, December 21st, 7:30 PM, 1762 Beacon Street, Brookline
Drop in for this informal monthly gathering to learn and sing Yiddish folk songs. Songbooks provided. All are welcome, regardless of singing ability or knowledge of Yiddish. Learn more.
Around the Circle - Useful BWC Community Information
A Sheynem Dank - Thank You!
Have some gratitude for your BWC community?  
Email Michelle 
to post it to the newsletter!
  • Thank you to our fabulous Shabes Committee who organized two Shabes events this month: 1) Sephardic Culture & Ladino Language Shabbat which was hosted by Raul Salinas, Stan Habib and Michelle Weiser, and 2) Light Into Darkness and Darkness Into Light hosted by the Aging in Community Committee
We had a great turnout for the Sephardic Culture & Ladino Language Shabbat
  • Congratulations to our Yiddish teachers and Yiddish students who just wrapped up the Fall semester of Yiddish classes! We'll announce our Spring semester soon.
Students in our Beginners Yiddish class play Yiddish Jeopardy with teacher Max Edwards
News of the Mishpokhe
Life news? Graduation? Promotion? Simcha? What's new? Email Michelle and share it with the community.
  • Shule graduate and past BWC Rosh Hashonah d'var speaker, Sam Graham-Felsen, reads from his first novel, Green, in Cambridge at Harvard Bookstore on Thursday, January 4th, at 7PM. Learn more.
Become a BWC Member
Boston Workmen's Circle is sustained by our members. If you believe in keeping secular progressive Jewish tradition alive and thriving for generations to come, please join us! Find out about BWC membership or sign up now!
Get More Plugged In @ BWC
Interested in joining a committee? We've got something for everyone with Yiddish, Shabes, Ritual, Adult Ed, Acting for Racial and Economic Justice, Middle East Working Group, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Aging in Community, Shule, Young Adults, and Caring. Email Liz to learn more about our diverse committees!
BWC Building Rentals
Hosting a party that's too big for your house? Having a meeting, or teaching a class? Hold it at Boston Workmen's Circle! We are conveniently located on the Green Line, with plenty of on-street parking. Learn more about space rentals.
Support Boston Workmen's Circle
Our work is made possible by the grassroots support of people like you. 

Boston Workmen's Circle, 1762 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02445
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