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By Jackie Hajdenberg

(JTA) — At Washington Hebrew Congregation in D.C., a weekend full of educational programming is on the agenda for Juneteenth.

Guests at Friday’s Kabbalat Shabbat will enjoy a dinner provided by a local Caribbean catering company featuring menu items like jerk chicken, green beans, and fried plantains. After services on Saturday morning, the synagogue will send a group to the Moral March on Washington. On Sunday, there will be a screening of the film ‘Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America’.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, Temple Emanuel will tell the story of one of its white congregants who was involved in desegregating local businesses during the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement. In Georgia, the Atlanta Jews of Color Council and Kol Panim will co-host a musical Shabbat at the Distillery of Modern Art.

These communities join the many others celebrating Juneteenth in Jewish spaces for the second year of its recognition as a federal holiday. The holiday, which falls on Sunday, June 19, commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved Black people in Texas learned of their emancipation, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

For many Jewish institutions, Juneteenth is not just an opportunity for solidarity with the Black community, but a moment to grapple with racism in their own spaces. Many of these communities’ celebrations and commemorations will be led by their own members who are both Black and Jewish.

...In 2018, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice began hosting an annual Juneteenth seder, creating a haggadah and seder plate that blends the symbols from Passover with traditional foods from the American South such as beets, okra and sweet potatoes.

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