Beth Basile Leaving BWC Staff, but not BWC

After two and a half years as Boston Workers Circles’ Deputy Director, I’ll be moving to New York with my family this summer and leaving my role on the BWC staff. I feel so connected to you all and I want to share some words of gratitude with you before I go.

When I first began to connect with BWC, I had been looking for a political home that was rooted my Jewish values, a hub of activists and activity, effective and bold. The deputy director role became available and pursuing it felt like the most embodied way for an introvert to jump in and participate. I also felt pulled to BWC for so many reasons, from my experience as a member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York to my family roots here at BWC. So many cosmic things felt in place as I marched toward BWC that it didn’t feel like a leap of faith to jump into a community that I didn’t know.

Through long meetings, beautiful rituals, and deeply powerful one on one conversations, I learned quickly that BWC is a home for enduringly passionate activists, Yiddishist, and community leaders of all ages. BWC is about people, care, community, and working towards a better world collectively. We all have different ideas of what BWC is or could be. And yet it still stands, stronger in fact, because our visions hold each other’s up, usually. Occasionally we have it out with each other, but always with love.

And though BWC is now someplace I proudly call home, honestly, it didn’t immediately feel that way. I had to navigate new cultural norms and phrases that seemed effortless to everyone else. I entered into a tight-knit community with a robust Jewish left political lineage, a pipeline of JOIN alumni, and multi-generational membership families. Plus, everyone was on zoom at the time.  Though I was intimidated, from day 1 you brought me in. Every reassuring word from Dianne Perlmutter, Micha Josephy, Sarah Chapel-Sokol, Sarah Axelrod, Andy Strauss and so many others helped ground me, allowed me to ask the questions I needed to ask, and offer what I had to give. 

We are BWC, we are a home for disenfranchised Jews, queer Jews, non-religious Jews, multi-racial Jews, non Jewish allies and interfaith families. We are the misfits in many ways and we are so proud to welcome so many folks who don’t feel at home elsewhere. But it takes work to stay welcoming, it takes effort to extend a hand, to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know, to make someone feel like this is the place for them. To those of you still on the outskirts, it takes work to make a community your own. Show up, help out, feel awkward, it pays off!

I don’t think I ever truly had a community before this one and my life is forever changed. I hope I have given back a fraction of what I have been gifted with. BWC is so special and so important to me. Thank you.

Those of you who know me best, know that I can’t possibly leave without reminding everyone that showing up and keeping this place thriving means joining or renewing your membership. It’s membership month and now is the time https://circleboston.org/membership/

While I am leaving BWC’s staff, I am excited to stay connected as a member. Like so many of our distant members, I will see you on zoom!

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