The ‘Four People’ Ask Tough Questions On Racial Justice
A special Passover supplement to spur challenging and meaningful conversations on racial justice is now available from Repair the World and the Jewish Multiracial Network.
Tweaking the tradition of Four Sons asking loaded questions and receiving answers in kind, the “Four People” are each on their own racial justice journey and ask questions reflecting their multiple perspectives, various backgrounds, different races and different ages.
“The values underlying our Passover tradition compel us not only to tell the story of liberation, but to also stand as allies of those still fighting for liberation, including many within the Jewish community,” says David Eisner, CEO of Repair the World. “The seder is filled with tools and symbols for strengthening our connection with the hardships of oppression and the Divine path to winning freedom.
“Sometimes, though,” he adds, “a little prompt can be useful to push our conversation into the challenging dimensions a modern exploration of oppression deserves. In its evolution, the questions and responses from the Four Sons has often served the purpose of setting up difficult conversations. So, it felt right to use that as a model to investigate our ability to act in support of racial justice today.”
The Four People represent a “complicated constellation of identity and experience; they are not simply good or bad, guileless or silent. They are Jews of color and white Jews. They are Mizrahi, Sephardi and Ashkenazi; they are youth, middle-aged and elders.” They ask questions such as:
- How do people work toward equality if the tactics and strategies used by current racial justice movements make them uncomfortable?
- How do newcomers to these racial justice efforts reach and engage with marginalized communities in an authentic and sustained way?
- How might Jews of color engage in racial justice work in a way true to themselves, acknowledging their own varied histories and interests?
- How do people engage if they are too scared to even begin a conversation about race?
The Four People is part of Repair’s Act Now for Racial Justice campaign, which, during Passover, includes opportunities and resources to host seders with meaningful conversations and to engage in service opportunities to address urgent needs created by racial injustice. Its Passover Pyramid Cutout includes powerful quotes from modern-day Jewish racial justice leaders. Other resources address issues around food justice.
“Young adults in particular want to address the pressing issues and the injustice they see around them,” Eisner adds. “Act Now for Racial Justice is an avenue for meaningful engagement, for creating change on the ground and for continuing to elevate the place of service in American Jewish life.”
Find the “Four People” at werepair.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/The-Four-People.pdf.