Start Here: Jewish Anti-Racism Learning Cohort

A leadership development program for early- to mid-career white, Jewish professionals and lay leaders dedicated to examining the impact of race and racism in our organizations and community.

Over the course of a six-month fellowship, participants will advance and challenge their understanding of their own racial identity, build relationships with peers from across the spectrum of Jewish Detroit, and gain tools to help build a more inclusive and equitable Jewish community.  

Program Dates (all sessions 11:00am-2:00pm):

Thursday, April 22

Wednesday, May 19

Thursday, June 24

Wednesday, July 21

Thursday, August 19

Tuesday, September 14

Applications are now closed.

Questions: Check out our FAQ section below or contact Rachel Wasserman – or Rabbi Ari Witkin –

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply?

Early- to mid-career white, Jewish professionals or lay leaders working within the Metro Detroit Jewish community. Individuals should be motivated to engage bravely in meaningful conversations about their own identities and experiences, with a primary, though not exclusive, focus on race and Jewishness in order to grow and begin to create cultural shifts in their organizations and community.

You do not need to have prior anti-racism experience to participate in this fellowship. You do need to be open to learning and reflecting about your own whiteness and how race impacts your life and the life of your community(ies).

Why is this fellowship only for white Jews?

We know that there is racial justice work for white folks and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) folks to be done separately, as well as together. Separate affinity or caucus space for white people gives room to build understanding of the history of racialization in the U.S. (and globally), and white culture and privilege in order to increase the capacity for critical analysis and self-awareness around issues of race. It also responds to the need for white people to take responsibility for their own learning rather than placing the burden for educating white people on BIPOC folks. The fellowship is designed for early- to mid-career communal leaders who identify as Jewish and appear white. This fellowship is being intentionally crafted using the works of BIPOC folks and with the deep understanding that we are not the first to do this anti-racism work and will not be the last.

If you are a Jew of Color and interested in engaging with other Jews of Color in Metro Detroit, we would encourage you to connect with Kendra Watkins of Detroit Jews for Justice at

What is the time commitment?

The time commitment will be approximately six hours a month. This includes:

  • Monthly 3-hour full-group sessions
  • Monthly 1-hour small study group sessions; these will be curated by Andrea and Rachel based on similarities in organizational work to build strong relationships even beyond the fellowship
  • The remaining ~2 hours is expected to be utilized individually or in chavruta (dyad), working on readings, journaling, and any other prompts assigned in between sessions.
  • In addition, participants will be expected to meet one-on-one with the program facilitator, Dr. Andrea Jacobs, at least once during the fellowship.

All sessions will take place during the traditional workday. If you need assistance reaching out to your supervisor about shifting your schedule, please reach out to Rachel.

Three-hour sessions – why so long?

This curriculum is designed to be immersive and comprehensive, providing space for extensive information sharing, processing, community building, and learning integration. Each session will have 1) a review of readings w/dialogue of key concepts and, 2) experiential and creative exercises to reflect on and engage the content for different learning styles.

Each session will have breaks throughout, and we encourage participants to bring food, water, and anything else may help stay attentive.

What if I can’t commit to the whole thing?

It is crucial that members of the fellowship commit to all sessions. We are building a trusting space together where we can all be honest and vulnerable, and this process requires all of our full participation.

We do understand life is filled with the unexpected and ask all participants to sign-up with the best intention to fully participate.

Is there homework?

Yes. As mentioned above, there will be both assigned readings/podcasts/videos between sessions, as well as specific assignments related to the content of different sessions. We will also share a larger resource list for each session.

Prior to the first session, we ask all participants to listen to the NYT 1619 podcast and watch the three-part PBS series Race: The Power of an Illusion. (We will give you a link to enable you to access this once you have registered.) All assignments will be sent out ahead of time in order to give you ample time to complete and discuss in your study group.

Does this fellowship cost money to participate in?

Thanks to the support of the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, the Max and Marjorie Fisher Foundation, and the Jamie and Denise Jacob Foundation we are able to provide this experience at a highly subsidized rate of only $150 per participant. Please reach out to Rachel if you need funding support. All financial conversations remain confidential.

This program is a joint project of the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit and Repair the World, facilitated by Dr. Andrea Jacobs of Rally Point for Collaborative Change.

The fellowship is made possible with support from the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, the Max and Marjorie Fisher Foundation, the Jamie and Denise Jacob Foundation and The Jewish Fund Teen Board.

Thank you to Amelia Mae Paradise, founder of the Jewish Bridge Project and the Jewish Justice Circle for her support and partnership in developing the fellowship curriculum and the language of this FAQ.

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