Hannah Senesh Community Day School and the Parent Diversity Committee held a panel discussion about slavery, liberation, and freedom by engaging with our traditions and narratives. Our panel included Rabbis Carie Carter, Mira Rivera, and Josh Weinberg, and Rabbinical student Evan Traylor. The conversation was moderated by Equity Consultant Imani Chapman.
Imani Chapman has more than 25 years of experience developing curriculum, organizing, and educating for social justice. Her work as a facilitator, educator, coach, and leader with stakeholders in religious communities, secular communities, schools and non-profit organizations has helped root their efforts for sustained change in creating safe, and inclusive environments for learning, growth, and justice. She was the founding co-chair of the Steering Committee for the New York Metro Coalition of Faith/Spiritual/Ethical Communities for the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and The Race Working Group at Kolot Chayeinu Synagogue. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, her Masters from Middlebury College, Madrid, Spain and is a UJA Federation Graduate Fellow currently enrolled in the doctoral studies program for Interfaith Clinical Education for Pastoral Ministry at HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Carie Carter is the Rabbi of Park Slope Jewish Center. She received her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, having studied both in Jerusalem and at the University of Judaism. Rabbi Carter is dedicated to promoting the inclusion of women within the public story of the Jewish people. She has lectured often on this subject and has facilitated numerous creative rituals around women’s lifecycle and holiday observances. Rabbi Carter has also been involved in inter-religious dialogue, social justice work, and ethical questions regarding the implications of technology. Inspired by her extensive experience, Rabbi Carter is committed to building an inclusive Jewish community in which exploration and creativity are encouraged and where the dignity of every human being is honored and celebrated.
Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem, and is currently living in New York. Josh previously served as the Director of the Israel program for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and as a faculty member of NFTY-EIE High School in Israel teaching Jewish History. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel-trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003. Josh has taught and lectured widely throughout Israel, the U.S. and Europe, as well as on gap-year programs. He has led numerous tours and trained tour educators for the Reform movement’s Israel experiences. Josh is passionate about anything connected to Israel and hopes to strengthen the connection between the Reform movement and the Jewish State.
Rabbi Mira Rivera is the first Filipina-American Rabbi to be ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Deeply rooted in meditation practices and community organizing, she brings an introspective approach to her practice, while emphasizing relationship building, interconnectedness, collective power, and collective responsibility. Her experiences of being an outsider as a person of color in Jewish spaces inspired her to make spaces for Jews of Color (JOC) by co-founding Harlem Havruta, teaching and mentoring at Ammud: The JOC Torah Academy, and taking part in the first cohort of Dimensions’s Jewish Women of Color (JWOC) Resilience Circle and Bend the Arc’s Selah Cohort 15 for JOCs. She currently serves at Romemu as Rabbi and Board Certified Chaplain, following two years as their Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellow. She is a board member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, and co-chair of the Rabbinic Council of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ).
Evan Traylor is a rabbinic student and Jewish community builder, educator, activist, and writer. Each and every day, he strives to support and guide people, build strong Jewish communities, and work toward justice and liberation, creating a more loving and peaceful world for all people. Evan is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Ko’ach Fellow. He currently serves on the board of Encounter, leadership team of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, and the Commission on Social Action of the Religious Action Center. Prior to rabbinical school, Evan worked at the Union for Reform Judaism for several years creating new initiatives in college and young adult engagement, where he was selected for the New York Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36”.