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Celebrate a Jewish Juneteenth at these events

Jewish organizations are observing the holiday with healing, reflection and a renewed commitment to fighting racism.

The U.S. Army arrived in Galveston, Texas — where slavery was still being enforced, despite the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior — on June 19, 1865, and ordered that all enslaved people be freed.

Celebrated annually ever since as the end of slavery in the U.S., Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.

Here’s how Jewish organizations across the country are marking the holiday this year.

To add your event, please email malcom@forward.com.

Friday, 6/17

Online | 11:00 a.m. EDT: Reflect on the fight against hate and racism with the ADL, the National Urban League and the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations. The caucus’ co-chairs, Reps. Brenda Lawrence, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lee Zeldin, will highlight Black and Jewish communities’ efforts to combat hate amid rising racism and antisemitism.

Free. Register here.

White Plains, N.Y. | 5:30 p.m. EDT: Learn about African American history over a Juneteenth Seder of soul food at Congregation Kol Ami. The event, hosted by the White Plains Ministers Fellowship Council and White Plains Religious Leaders, will be led by A.W. Hampton, author of “The Telling Book: A Gathering of Remembrance.”

Suggested donation of $15. Register here.

New York | 6 p.m. EDT: Join Be’chol Lashon, which raises awareness of the diversity of the Jewish people, for a musical Shabbat service in honor of Juneteenth on the roof of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Wine, challah and dessert will be provided; bring vegetarian dishes.

Pay what you wish. Register here.

Greensboro, N.C. (online and in-person) | 6:30 p.m. EDT: At Temple Emanuel, hear the story of a late congregant who helped desegregate local businesses during the civil rights movement. The musical Juneteenth Shabbat service will also be livestreamed.

Free. Register here.

Atlanta (online and in-person) | 7 p.m. EDT: Join the Atlanta Jews of Color Council and Kol HaPanim for a Juneteenth Shabbat led by Rabbi Sandra Lawson, chief diversity officer of Reconstructing Judaism, and others. The celebratory, musical service will be livestreamed and feature the Jews For Racial & Economic Justice Juneteenth Seder Haggadah.

Free. Register here.

Washington, D.C. (online and in-person) | 7:30 p.m. EDT: Join the Jews of Color group at Washington Hebrew Congregation for a Shabbat service featuring speakers like Rep. Joyce Beatty, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. After the service, which will also be livestreamed, a Caribbean dinner will be served.

$10 for WHC members, $18 for non-members. Register here.

Saturday, 6/18

Chicago | 6 p.m. CDT: Commemorate the history of Black Americans’ liberation at the Kol Or Jews of Color Caucus of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ fifth annual Juneteenth Havdalah in Marquette Park. Bring potluck items.

Free. Register here.

Sunday, 6/19

Washington, D.C. | 10 a.m. EDT: Attend the Washington Hebrew Congregation and Edlavitch DCJCC’s screening of “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” a documentary feature film about the history and legacy of white supremacy in the U.S. After the screening, Deitra Reiser of Transform For Equity will lead a discussion on race in the U.S.

Pay what you can. Register here.

Online | 7 p.m. EDT: Join the Black Jewish Liberation Collective for its annual Juneteenth celebration for Black people of any faith who have organized with Black Jews. This year’s theme is art as freedom.

Free. Register here.

Monday, 6/20

Philadelphia | 6 p.m. EDT: Learn about the Jewish tradition of racial justice with Tribe 12, Moishe House and the Jewish Graduate Student Network in Matthias Baldwin Park. Snacks and drinks will be provided; bring dinner.

Free. Register here.

Tuesday, 6/21

Online | 6 p.m. EDT: Honor Juneteenth and Father’s Day by discussing Black fatherhood, reparations as teshuvah and more with Repair the World Baltimore, the Baltimore Jewish Council and Jewish Volunteer Connection.

Free. Register here.

Past events

Here’s a video of our conversation about the holiday and racial justice between our editor-in-chief, Jodi Rudoren, and Rabbi Sandra Lawson and Tema Smith.

And watch the ADL’s Juneteenth celebration here — featuring music and reflections from Annette Gordon-Reed, a historian, Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, on her latest book, “On Juneteenth.”

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