Meet our 2021 Hollander Social Justice Fellow: Erica Riddick
This year’s Hollander Fellowship topic: Bilha & Zilpah: Silent Voices of Sister Wives & Concubine Matriarchs
It is human nature to look for reflections of oneself. Torah is no different. While I can relate to attributes of the characters we most dwell on, Western religions went through a whitewashing that rendered the idea of black Biblical figures as unfathomable, even though the foundational story of Jewish Exodus from slavery out of Egypt begins in Africa. I want to reconnect the diasporic nature of Judaism back into a history that has always been as diverse as kingdoms like the Shushan of Purim, with “over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia” (Esther 1:1) and Canaanites assimilated into Judahites and not completely wiped out as our narratives suggest. I believe this will be a healing balm, as much for all Jews, as Jews of Color, and for those waiting for the Moshiach, my pet theory, is the Moshiach is waiting for us to figure out how to finally live together in our one common home. My approach is powerfully simple, to explore text readings of sections we repeatedly choose not to focus on, especially in social justice settings, to not just make excuses for Torah citing its age, but really explore topics that are as relevant today as ever.
- Best suited for 16+
- Text Study
The Havurah movement has long been a place where activists, educators, organizers, and artists come together across generations to learn, innovate, and collaborate on responses to the key issues of our times. It is time for the NHC community, rooted in our values of resiliency, adaptability, and resistance to the status quo, to take leadership by creating a climate resilience ethic to guide our own diverse communities and be a resource for these challenging times.