What does it mean to be a "welcoming Jewish community"?
(ח) לֹֽא־תְתַעֵ֣ב אֲדֹמִ֔י כִּ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ ה֑וּא (ס) לֹא־תְתַעֵ֣ב מִצְרִ֔י כִּי־גֵ֖ר הָיִ֥יתָ בְאַרְצֽוֹ׃

You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your kinsman. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, for you were a stranger in her land. [JPS translation, Edited for gender neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What is this text suggesting about our relationships with people from other races and cultures?

2. How is this similar or different to the way we relate with people from other cultures today?

Ruth Messinger, "We Must Help, and in the Right Ways," JTA- August 25th, 2009

Part of being Jewish is to put Jewish values into practice where the poorest people are. This is not some new piece of Judaism: The rabbis and Jewish leaders have discussed the balance between helping Jews and non-Jews, the balance of working with different communities, the balance of showing who we are and building a better world not only ourselves but for others. It doesn't say, “Build justice for Jews.”

Suggested Discussion Questions

1. What would you say to critics of Messinger's belief that Jews must pursue justice for Jews, and non-Jews, alike?
2. How does one define the "balance" that Messinger refers to?

אלא ראוי שתקבל בני האדם כולם, קטנם וגדולם, בן החורין מהם והעבד, כל איש ממין האדם, בשמחה ובטוב לבב. וזה יותר ממאמר שמאי בסבר פנים יפות.

It is fitting to receive every person, lowly and grand, freed and slave, every member of the human race, with joy and happiness. This goes beyond what Shammai says (Avot 1:15): "[Receive all people] with a kindly countenance." [Translation by Uri L’Tzedek. Edited for gender neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions

1. Discuss times when you felt welcomed in Jewish spaces?

2. Have you ever felt not welcomed in Jewish spaces?

3. How do we create welcoming Jewish spaces?