Fifty people from across North America signed up to explore Antisemitism: claiming the conversation, Boston Workers Circle’s spring adult education course. A group of BWC members worked together to conceive of the course, find the appropriate speakers and navigate the challenges and advantages of doing a hybrid learning series with the building’s new technology.
As our community and our allies face a world with rising white nationalism, threats to democracy and antisemitism, it can be difficult to distinguish real threats from fear tactics. This course has brought together parents, young adults, elders, people who identify as Jewish and those who are allies. Together we have been navigating the historical roots of antisemitism and the ways that antisemitism intersects with other forms of oppression.
Through listening to lectures, asking questions and group conversations, we are finding ways to discern our path for building Jewish safety and a vision for a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multicultural world, as well as being able to identify what impedes and divides us, both currently and historically.
Creating class has held resonance for a number of folks — here are thoughts of some of the attendees and organizers:
Zohar Berman, BWC’s cultural and political organizer sees this course as an opportunity to root our community in the history of and contemporary circumstances of antisemitism. Through this course, BWC will be able to engage in the powerful organizing cycle of learning–action–reflection as we use the course’s lessons to inform our activism.
One of our session educators, Ben Lorber, who is a BWC member and works with Political Research Associates explains the significance of talking about antisemitism at this moment. “Trump may be out of office, but with legislative attacks on trans folks, violent intimidation at LGBTQ Pride events, classroom book bans and more, the far-right remains a real threat to our democracy, to social movements and marginalized communities. It’s more vital than ever for us to learn how antisemitism continues to fuel the flames of nationalism and division, and to strategize to mobilize against it, and build a more safe and thriving world for Jews and for everyone.”
Board member and multiple committee chair, leader, Marie Ariel was also interested in seeing this course to fruition: “One word, antisemitism, multiple vantage points. I am gaining clarity about the complexity of the word as it plays out.”