Rabbi Sandra Lawson (she/her), a trailblazing leader, joins Reconstructing Judaism as its inaugural Director of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Working with senior staff, lay leaders, clergy, rabbinical students and Reconstructionist communities, Lawson helps Reconstructing Judaism realize its deeply held aspiration of becoming an anti-racist organization and movement.
Lawson is a prominent figure, teacher of Torah, activist and thought leader. As one of the first African American, queer, female rabbis, she has consciously sought to alter the perception of what a rabbi — and the rabbinate — looks like. She is known for tackling difficult questions surrounding Jews and race in podcasts, essays, media appearances and speeches. A social media pioneer, Lawson models what it means to teach Torah in the digital space. She has built a following of more than 50,000 people on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok. She is a sociologist, personal trainer, weightlifter, vegan, writer, public speaker and musician.
A 2018 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College graduate, from 2018 through early 2021 Lawson served as associate chaplain for Jewish life and Hillel Jewish educator at Elon University in North Carolina.
September 10th, 2021 | Season 4 | 33 mins 10 secs
Amanda Mbuvi, Ph.D., is the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s new vice president for academic affairs. We delve into Mbuvi’s desire to deepen how people and communities think about diversity and identity, offer some thoughts on the findings of the Jews Of Color Initiative's latest study and share our hopes for the High Holidays and the coming year.
June 23rd, 2021 | Season 4 | 42 mins 58 secs
Marcella White Campbell is executive director of Be'chol Lashon -- a pioneering organization that strengthens Jewish identity by affirming the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the Jewish people. We discuss her multiracial Jewish family's own experiences as a window into the Jewish community's troubled record in welcoming Jews of Color. She reflects on her own growth into leadership, motivated by the rising cohort of young Jews of Color who deserve a Jewish community where they can thrive and contribute. And she reflects on the rich interplay of her Jewish and Black identities in making meaning at a time of personal loss. Join us for a rich and deeply moving conversation.
April 13th, 2021 | Season 4 | 41 mins 38 secs
We're joined by Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, one of fewer than 100 Black American women to earn a doctorate in physics -- and a Reconstructionist! We discuss the insights she draws from her background as a Black and Ashkenazi Jew, and the richness, complexity, and fruitful challenges that diverse voices bring to the Jewish community. She and Rabbi Sandra Lawson discuss their respective experiences as trailblazers within the physics and the rabbinate. Finally, we delve into theoretical physics and Jewish theology as she explains why she included the ma'ariv prayer in her new book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred.
March 1st, 2021 | Season 4 | 38 mins 3 secs
We begin a new season focusing on Judaism, resilience, and racial justice, and welcome a new co-host: Rabbi Sandra Lawson, director of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion for Reconstructing Judaism. We dig deeply into the complexities of engaging in racial justice work within the Jewish community, the necessity for deep listening and empathy toward Jews of color, and the need to draw on resilience practices to stay committed to the challenging but vital process of teshuvah on the path to redemption.