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How Jewish communities are celebrating Juneteenth this year

Around the country, Jewish communities are recognizing the national holiday that celebrates emancipation

News that the South had lost the Civil War and that the Emancipation Proclamation had freed all enslaved people came late to Texas — June 19, 1865. Since then, Black communities in the South have celebrated what came to be called Juneteenth on the anniversary of the day. “America’s second Independence Day” was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.

For many Jews, Juneteenth is an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate both Black and Jewish history and culture — and the places where they intersect. Here is a sampling of Jewish Juneteenth events this season.

To add your event, please email [email protected].

Friday, June 14

  • The Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C., will welcome Shabbat with Juneteenth Shabbat@WHC. The event will feature guest speaker Yolanda Savage-Narva, vice president of Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Union for Reform Judaism.

Monday, June 17

  • Ritualwell, a digital hub for Jewish learning, will run a workshop: Telling The Story of Juneteenth. Scholar and playwright Yael Navid will discuss her Black and Jewish identity and the struggle for racial justice.

Tuesday, June 18

  • The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco will host its first-ever Erev Juneteenth the evening before the holiday. The event will be hosted by Ilana Kaufman, CEO of the Berkeley-based Jews of Color Initiative; Yiddish vocalist and composer Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell; and Michael Twitty, the author of Kosher Soul.

Wednesday, June 19

  • Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, New York, will host their annual Juneteenth Jewbilee. The event will feature live music and food from Black-owned vendors.

Sunday, June 23

  • At the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the Inheritance Theater Project will present Guess Who’s Coming to the (Juneteenth) Seder? — a play about a couple who attend a Juneteenth Seder that explores the complexities of Black and Jewish identities.

Wednesday, June 26

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