Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Reconstructionists become second Jewish movement to support reparations for slavery

‘Jewish teachings on accountability and repair and are heeding the voices of people of African descent,’ said its president

The Reconstructionist movement has adopted a resolution calling for reparations from the U.S. to descendants of victims of the slave trade.

The endorsement follows a similar one by the largest stream of Judaism, the Reform movement, which in 2019 endorsed the creation of a federal commission to develop proposals for reparations. 

The Reconstructionist movement, which includes about 100 congregations across the U.S. and Canada, approved its resolution following a Jan. 22 vote by its board of governors. The motion also calls for national repentance, and for those affiliated with the movement to “to engage in deep reflection on the ways we have participated in or benefited from racial injustice.” It throws its support behind H.R. 40, a bill introduced in the U.S. House by late congressman John Conyers in 1989 which, if passed, would form a commission to examine reparations proposals. 

The Reconstructionist resolution drew on “Jewish teachings on accountability and repair and are heeding the voices of people of African descent,” said Reconstructing Judaism president and CEO Deborah Waxman in a press release. Reconstructing Judaism is the name of the central body of the Reconstructionist movement.

In 2021, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association approved its own reparations resolution. In December, the congregational arm of Reconstructing Judaism approved the motion just voted on by the board of governors.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.