Open today: 10AM - 3PM

Jewish Work for Social Justice and Racial Equality: Our Responsibility to Engage

Date(s) - Thursday, January 7th
7:00 pm CST - 8:00 pm CST


dsc0801-version-2These are challenging times.  We are coping with a health pandemic and a severe economic crisis.  The pandemic itself has exposed severe racial fault lines, and the recent explosions of race-based violence have made it clear that we have failed to address pervasive racism that threatens our democracy.  It is tempting in the face of such challenges to turn inward, to despair of being able to make a difference, to imagine that many of these problems are bigger than we are and that there is nothing we can do to make a difference.

But Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel told us that: “in a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

Those are the words that will guide this presentation.  We may not have caused any or all of these problems but we are not free to ignore them.  We have an obligation to be upstanders, not bystanders, to figure out why and how to take responsibility and act for our own and for the greater good.  

Examine relevant texts, look into the root causes of the problems that are defining our era and consider the myriad ways in which we can and must be involved as individuals and as Jews in the ongoing struggles for justice and equity at home and abroad. Bringing to bear her own experience as an organizer, a social change agent, a former elected official and the past leader of a Jewish organization committed to global human rights, Ruth Messinger, considers with the audience what we can do and what next steps we can take.

Registration is Required to Access the Zoom Session


This program is free and open to the public.
Please consider donating whatever amount you can to support the Museum’s mission.

Sponsored by Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid Social Action Committee, Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Congregation Sinai, Ron Miller and Susan Angel Miller, Tikkun Ha-Ir and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. In connection with Luba Lukova: Designing Justice, an exhibit on display at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, September 17 – January 31, 2021.

About Ruth W. Messinger

Ruth W. Messinger is the Global Ambassador of American Jewish World Service, an international human rights and development organization which she ran from 1998-2016.  Ruth does social justice and organizing work as the activist-in-residence at the Marlene Meyerson JCC and as the Finkelstein Institute social justice fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  She has just completed development of a social justice curriculum for Melton Schools and teaches the webinar program for women entrepreneurs at the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York.  Ruth serves on various boards and holds honorary degrees from several seminaries. Previously, Ruth had a twenty-year career in elected office in New York City.  She is married to an educator and has 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

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