Join us in grief, rage, and hope


Dear Friend,


We are full of grief and outrage over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and all black lives lost to police brutality and white supremacy. As a multiracial Jewish community committed to racial justice and a better world for all, we mourn together, we protest together, and we recommit ourselves to work together for racial justice within ourselves, our communities, and our country. 


June is membership month at BWC, when we all recommit ourselves to this community and what we stand for. This year, we begin membership month amidst a broken world. As BWC members, we approach this brokenness together, rooted in our values, partnerships, and dreams for a besere velt, a better world. 


This week, our people are marching in the streets, delivering groceries, redistributing wealth to black & brown led organizations, starting anti-racist book groups, and thinking deeply about how to care for each other in the short term and for the long haul. Being a member at BWC means coming together for nourishment, and fighting together for change. When you show up to a protest, chances are you march with someone you’ve sat next to at a Shabes dinner. This is what it means to be a BWC member, now and always. 


We are asking that every single one of you join us. We are all making tough decisions about where to put our money right now, and we want as many of you to join our community as possible. That’s why we are introducing a radical sliding scale for membership -- join at whatever rate works for you, even if it is $5. What matters most to us right now is that we can all show up together.


As we recommit to our community, we honor the work happening across the country, and ask you to support the leadership of local and national black-led organizations. Here are three steps you can take right now:


1. Donate to black-led organizations resisting police violence in Minnesota, nationally, and locally


2. Go to a protest if it feels safe for you to attend. Black Lives Matter-Boston and Violence in Boston are hosting a protest tomorrow, Tuesday, at Franklin Park from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice) Boston will be holding a white affinity space virtually from 7:00pm - 9:00pm)


3. Join our Acting for Racial and Economic Justice working group and take action together. Email to get involved.

In Solidarity, in hope, and with a huge amount of love,


Jen Kiok

Executive Director


Announcing Anti-Racism Reading Group


We are pleased to announce a new Anti-Racism Reading Group for all interested BWC community members.


The group, which is mainly targeted to white-identifying BWC members but is open to all, will focus on topics such as the history of race in the U.S., what it means to be white, and current ideas about structural change.


While libraries are closed, we'll begin with articles, videos, and other online resources, and look forward to the wonderful day when we have access to books again!


We are working on a proposed list of resources and would like to schedule a meeting soon for everyone who is interested in participating.



If you are interested in the group, and/or have suggestions for readings, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at by June 12. Thanks, and we hope to see you (via Zoom) soon! 


Wishing you health and well-being, 


Susi Abeles, 

Fredi Dworkin, 

Madeleine Lourie, 

Laura Punnett,

Upcoming virtual meetings & events


Yiddish Reading Group

Friday, June 5, 12, 19, 26, 10:30am - 12:00pm on Zoom

We are currently reading some stories from the Sholem Aleichem collection "Ayzenbahn geshichten" ("The Railroad Stories"). Learn more


A Bisl: Pruning Woody Shrubs and Small Trees: When, Why, How, With What, and Who to Call; led by Stella Dee

Saturday, June 6, 2:00pm on Zoom

Ask an MCA and ISA certified arborist all your questions, hopefully get some answers, and see some pruning in action!Learn more and register.


Somerville Vinkl (Yiddish Conversation Group)

Thursday, June 11, 7:30pm - 9:30pm on Zoom

This is an opportunity for you to sharpen your Yiddish skills in a comfortable and informal setting, whatever your level of Yiddish. All are welcome. Learn more.


Circle Book Group

Sunday, June 14, 10:15am - 12:15pm on Zoom

Join us as we read Ecclesiastes, an insightful and puzzling masterpiece from the Hebrew Bible. It’s not a long read: "Scholars disagree about the themes of Ecclesiastes: whether it is positive and life-affirming, or deeply pessimistic; whether it is coherent or incoherent, insightful or confused, orthodox or heterodox; whether the ultimate message of the book is to copy Kohelet, the wise man, or to avoid his errors.” Learn more.


BWC Shabes: Marking Time

Friday, June 19, 7:00pm on Zoom

Please join us for BWC Shabes: Marking Time hosted by the Shabes Committee. Many important rituals that communicate what we value, including holidays, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and more, have been altered or postponed. We hope to learn from each other by sharing how we are creating rhythms and connections in our lives during this time and during Shabes together. Learn more and register.


Yiddish Sing

Thursday, June 25, 7:30pm on Zoom

By popular demand, Yiddish Sing will return to cyberspace! Drop in for this informal monthly gathering to sing Yiddish folk songs. All are welcome, regardless of singing ability or knowledge of Yiddish and song booklets will be provided. Learn more and register.


Stay tuned: Virtual summer Yiddish classes will be announced soon!


Note: During this pandemic, virtual events are being planned on a different time frame than our typical in-person events. Please check our website calendar for updates throughout June.

Celebrate A Besere Velt - Special Concert Video


Due to COVID-19, we made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the concert, "Singing for Love and Justice." While we were looking forward to celebrating our performers & honorees together this spring, our top priority remains the safety of our community.


We are working hard to reschedule this concert, featuring A Besere Velt, Lorin Sklamberg, and Polina Shepherd, who will be traveling to us all the way from the U.K, and honoring Yavilah McCoy, Aaron Lanksy and the BWC Class of 2019. 


In the meantime, we can still celebrate our amazing chorus and performers virtually by sharing and appreciating their beautiful music. 


Polina Sheperd shared, "In December 2019, 80 members of the chorus sat shoulder to shoulder in a small studio outside Boston, me and my partner in this project Lorin Sklamberg in another room with a grand piano, accordion and masses of equipment… recording for 6 hours with no breaks! Have a listen to fragments of our non-edited, raw recording - just the bare voices, love of Yiddish song and passion for making the world a better place."



We are also so proud to share the full hour-long concert video from A Besere Velt's 2018 performance at Yiddish New York. Sit back, hit play, and be enchanted by the "largest Yiddish chorus in the universe." 


News of the Mishpokhe (Community News)


We are relieved to hear that Ben Katz is recovering well from thyroid cancer surgery. Ben is a shule and chorus alum, sibling of teacher Pauli Katz, and offspring of active members Mike Katz and Linda Gritz. A refue shleyme (a speedy recovery) to Ben and best wishes to the Katz Gritz Mishpokhe.


We're co-sponsoring "Giraffes on Horseback Salad," a conversation about Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the strangest movie never made, hosted by The Jewish Arts Collaborative. Learn more here.


There are only a few open slots left in our community videos! As a virtual group, we're baking challah and gardening. Learn more and sign up for a slot here.


Our Immigrant Justice & Sanctuary committee has already over $16,000 to provide undocumented families with basic needs like food, housing, electricity and phone service: Donate here.


Every week since COVID restrictions settled upon us, a group of BWC members has been meeting to figure out how we can best take care of each other, as a community. The first thing we set out to do was survey our community to see what your concerns and needs are. Check out their offerings here, including a BWC Cares Listserv, community mental health resources, and a memorial guide.


Life news? Actions to share? Graduation? Promotion? Simcha? What's new? Email Madeleine,, to have it shared with the community. 



Become a BWC Member

Boston Workers 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.


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 Solidarity, Aging in Community, Shule, Young Adults, and Caring. Email Maddy to learn more about our diverse committees!