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To get involved in LT Social Justice Initiative, please contact co-chairs

Lisa Kaufmann  at OR

Jennifer Mitchell at

                        Join the RAC-NY 2021 Legislative Campaign                         "Less is More" Parole Reform

What is 'Less is More' Parole Reform?

RAC-NY’s new campaign aims to change New York State’s current system, which imprisons 7,500 individuals per year for missing an appointment, staying out beyond a curfew, testing positive for alcohol, and other minor, technical violations after their release from prison. New York reincarcerates more people for minor transgressions like these than any other state in our country except Illinois, and forty percent of all people sent to prison in New York are sent for technical violations.

How can I participate?  Join our Virtual Lobbying efforts

Starting mid-February RAC-NY will hold six weeks of virtual meetings with our state legislators to urge them to vote in favor of Less is More. Larchmont Temple will be leading the efforts to lobby our local Westchester representatives.  Please sign up to participate in a lobby meeting with your state Senator or Assembly member, and, if appropriate, for a role in organizing lobby meetings. You can find role descriptions here


Join LT’s Social Justice Initiative as we join forces with RAC-NY and other NYS reform synagogues to lobby our NYS Legislature for the passage of 'Less is More' parole reform.

This is a racial justice issue. Black people are 12 times more likely to be incarcerated in New York City jails for technical parole violations than white people. RAC-NY’s new campaign to pass the Less is More bill will endeavor to fight against this racial injustice. 


Join our Virtual Rallies 

We are kicking off and concluding RAC-NY’s racial justice virtual lobby month with a rally on the steps of the virtual Capitol. 

Kick off virtual rally on March 1st, 5:30-6pm, sign up here 

Concluding virtual rally on April 6th, 5:30-6pm, sign up here

**There will be virtual swag sent to all those who register for these rallies.**

Upcoming Discussion Groups on Racial Equity

There are many issues of social justice which deserve, rather demand, our attention. We feel obligated as a community to foster an awareness and dialogue focused on RACIAL EQUITY. While there are many worthy sub-topics here, we have decided that the first step in committing ourselves to fighting racism locally and beyond is to look inward and help all of us take an honest inventory of who we are individually and collectively relative to understanding our ‘privilege’ and implicit biases.  Through this higher level of awareness and understanding, we can then be far more effective and engaged in helping transform the structural underpinnings of the institutional racism that surrounds us all.

       Collectively, we think of ourselves as a giant stone about to be dropped in a large body of still water.  By focusing on ourselves first, our evolved understanding and perspective can then radiate outward to positively impact our family, our friends, our neighbors, to our co-workers, our employees, our elected officials, and beyond. Each one of us has the potential to make enormous positive impact on this troubled world. Please join us for this important and urgent journey.

Please join one of our discussion groups listed below.  Be sure to check the website as we will be updating periodically with future programming.


Ellen Brooks leads her second book discussion about “Just Us” by Claudia Rankine.

January 26th @ 7 pm 

February 23rd @ 7 pm

March 23rd @ 7 pm

You will be sent the zoom link the evening before.


To register, contact Jen Mitchell at or if you have any questions.

Cultural Conversations with Larchmont Temple & Strait Gate Church

LT Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend with Strait Gate Church

In January, the Cultural Conversation monthly meeting combined with the Annual Larchmont Temple/Strait Gate Church Martin Luther King, Jr., Weekend Commemoration for a moving series of services. Approximately 100 people joined each service via Zoom.

On Friday, Jan. 15th, our Shabbat Service became a Zoom “Family Shabbat Dinner Table” with small groups of both LT and SG members, discussing a powerful presentation by Shayna Johansen, Strait Gate Church’s Bishop Wayne Powell’s daughter.  Shayna presented a moving contemplation on “Bob Marley, Unity, One Love and our Fellowship together as ‘One’ human race.” In our small groups, around candles and dinners (all on Zoom), we discussed how we respond to white privilege and systemic injustice, the how's of helping others see/feel the mutuality of our existence, and the questions Who are We? and How do we become the America we must?  The conversations around these difficult topics were, as always, open and honest ...

We left off with plans to “see” each other at the Sunday service streaming live from Strait Gate Church.  During the beautiful and musical Church service, 4 Cultural Conversations co-leaders (2 from each congregation) shared their reflections on the Initiative.

The MLK weekend was a powerful validation of the Cultural Conversations Initiative, as the deepening relationships we are building with each other made the two services all the more meaningful and personal.

Black History Month

The Cultural Conversations Initiative is going strong!

February is Black History Month…Did You Know…Black History is American History?

On Tuesday, February 9th, the Cultural Conversation meeting began with a presentation on Black History Month.  Strait Gate’s Shayna Johansen and Larchmont Temple’s Beth Belisle, a “Who’s Who of Did You Know?”…highlighting remarkable stories and contributions by Black Americans over centuries. 

We asked our 40 participants after the presentation: 

THE BIG QUESTION - How does the "vast blank” in our American History books, left by the omission of Black History, affect both white and Black children who are learning it, and perpetuate the lie that Black people have not contributed to every aspect of American life, from our country’s earliest days? How does NOT KNOWING inform the American cultural narrative?


The Cultural Conversation continues in March...


For more information, contact Beth Belisle at

Film Discussion: "The Talk: Race in America"

Participants will be limited to the first 22 people who sign up. 

 A Zoom link will be sent  directly to the registrants the day before the discussion.

Please view the film on your own before the February 18th discussion. 

This film can be viewed for free on the PBS website.

Thursday February 18th 7:30pm-8:45pm via Zoom

Join LT member, Lori Rotskoff, for a Zoom discussion of the recent PBS documentary film, “The Talk” (running time 1 hr, 55 min). Composed of 6 segments filmed in different cities around the country, "The Talk" documents the urgent conversations taking place in homes and communities between parents of color and their children about how to behave during potential encounters with the police. The film, overseen by veteran director and producer Sam Pollard, includes a segment featuring law enforcement officers and their training procedures. It also documents the experiences of parents and relatives who mourn the loss of family members, as well as community activists and educators working to create solutions to the problem of police violence.

Lori Rotskoff is a cultural historian and educator who teaches classes for adults at the 92nd Street Y, the Scarsdale Adult School, and other venues.

To Register:  

Contact Jayne Lipman at for more information.

Join the HIAS Refugee Shabbat 2021

March 5th & 6th 2021

This will be a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals in the United States and around

the world to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers.


Your community’s participation in Refugee Shabbat can be as multifaceted as you would like. It could be the culmination of a week of action on refugee issues, a moment to simply focus on learning more about the global refugee crisis in a Jewish context, or an opportunity to convene Jewish (or interfaith) congregations to learn and chart a course of action together. The choice is yours.

For more information click here.

Interested in working on our new initiative "Common Ground?"

A tri-municipalities community effort aimed at coming together through cross-cultural sharing to create community conversations on fighting racism & realizing the human dignity that helps us all stand together on common ground.

Contact: LTSJ Co-chairs Lisa Kaufmann at or Jennifer Mitchell at

We hope to create an effort that brings together people from different religions and backgrounds from Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle to create a community that fosters conversation and shared cross-cultural experiences. We are seeking volunteers to help organize this effort

                                 RACIAL EQUITY RESOURCES                                &n


     *   Invisible Backpack by Peggy McIntosh Article  
     *   "5 Phrases your Black Friend Wishes You'd Stop Saying" Article 
     *   "Ways Reform Jews can Act Now for Social Justice," by Rabbi Jonah Pesner, RAC Article  
     *  "White allies, stop asking me if I'm OK. Black people are not OK" Article 
     *  White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo Book
     *  How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi Book

Deepening our Understanding of Racial Injustice


       *   "The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates,  The Atlantic Article      
      *   "Resolution on the Study and Development of Reparations for Slavery and Systemic Racism in the US." 
      *   "The Grief That White Americans Can't Share", by Nikole Hannah Jones, New York Times, 7/22/16           
      *   "I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought About Their Privilege.  So I asked" by Claudia Rankine, New York  Times, 7/17/19    
      *   "Walking While Black" 


      *  Rants and Randomness with Luvvie Ajayi." Podcast 


      *   We Need to Talk about an Injustice by Bryan Stevenson. TED talk    
      *   "13th," by Ava DuVernay. Documentary Film                                                                                                                                                                                                                   *   "Just Mercy."  Film


Partnering with Community Resource Center to
 Help Prevent Housing Evictions

The Community Resource Center has reported that their most urgent need right now is for lawyers to help stop housing evictions. If you can help, contact Jirandy Martinez, Executive Director at

How is Social Justice Different From

Social Action?


Social Justice is about addressing the underlying causes of inequitable access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society (eg: lobbying in Albany). Social Action meets the world where it is, by providing direct support to those in need (eg: feeding the homeless).


Co-Chairs: Jennifer Mitchell and Lisa Kaufmann

Clergy: Rabbi Leora Frankel; Beth Belisle, Ellen Blumstein, David Kahn, Leah Katznelson,

Jayne Lipman, Lynn Reichgott, Linda Riefberg, & Ellen Zimmerman

Fri, February 26 2021 14 Adar 5781