Culture and Ritual

About Culture and Ritual at JFREJ

Loving, creative, visionary, and joyful — ritual and arts not only preserve and protect vital Jewish traditions, but infuse our campaign and political work with the spirit necessary to win.

JFREJ is committed to our many Jewish diasporic languages, our cultural traditions and texts, our politicized art- making, and our resilient celebrations. We draw on millennia of Jewish wisdom, art, religious ritual, and prayer. We won’t win hearts and minds with facts and figures alone: we must envision and embody the world we want to live in and bring our songs into the streets.

The Mazals

Every year, The Mazals is an opportunity to join together in lifting up the incredible vision, courage, and dedication of the people in our community and wider movement who’ve demonstrated — whether quietly behind the scenes, or loudly and proudly on the frontlines — creative leadership in moving a transformative agenda. The Mazals is also a time and place for us to bask in the glow of our collective accomplishments and to ground ourselves in our love, respect, and admiration for one another. Learn more.

Juneteenth Seder

In 2018, Black members of the JFREJ Jews of Color Caucus created a Juneteenth Haggadah (link to download here), using Jewish practice of celebrating Jewish freedom from bondage to celebrate and honor Black enslaved people's freedom from bondage.

This same year, JFREJ celebrated Black liberation and Jewish identity at two Juneteenth Seders, weaving together stories of Jewish liberation from Egypt and Black liberation from enslavement in the United States. We celebrated resistance and the ancestors who taught us how to survive; we celebrated freedom while also questioning its meaning. Celebrating Juneteenth with a Seder provides a powerful forum for Black members of the JFREJ Jews of Color Caucus to engage the entire JFREJ family in celebration, reflection and reckoning. With ancient rituals, oral histories, and participatory visioning, we can move between distant past to hopeful future. Learn more

Mimouna

Mimouna is a holiday that comes from Moroccan and other North African Jewish communities, beginning the night Passover ends, marking the return of chametz back into our homes. Many Jews who lived in Muslim-majority countries for centuries would open their homes to everyone on the block in honor of the holiday—including their Muslim neighbors—and quickly make mofletta pancakes with flour after sundown, sing and dance to Arabic songs and be together with neighbors and family in joyous celebration. Led by Mizrahi & Sephardi Caucus, JFREJ celebrated the first-ever Leftist Mimouna in 2019. Learn more.

Purim

Our legendary annual Purimshpil is produced in collaboration with the Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee and Great Small Works and has been referred to be Jewcy as "The Radical Queer Purim Spiel You MUST Attend." The shpil has entertained and inspired thousands of people over the years, who sing and dance in celebration of Jews and our legacies of resistance to injustice.

Scores of artists, activists and volunteers create and performed the shpil — building sets, sewing costumes, and writing scripts. In addition, we host family events — a children’s art party and parade, or a raucous, joy-filled Kids Defend NYC Children’s Purim Carnival. Learn more.