Juneteenth Kabbalat Shabbat

Date: Friday, June 18, 2021
Time: 2pm PT / 5pm ET
Location: Online  (Map)
RSVP/Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/juneteenth-kabbalat-shabbat-tickets-157878852899
Co-sponsored by 18 Doors, JCC Manhattan, One Table, PJ Library, URJ, NMAJH, Reconstructing Judaism

Juneteenth is the most recognized African-American holiday observance in the United States and celebrates African American history, culture and progress. The holiday is also referred to as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day.

June 19, 1865 is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and that 250,000 enslaved people were now free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier (January 1, 1863), Texas was the most remote of the slave states with few Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow. 

Juneteenth continues to expand as Black Americans seek to make sure that the events of 1865 are not lost to history. Juneteenth is increasing in popularity in the US and activists are pushing Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. On January 1, 1980,  “Emancipation Day in Texas” became an official state holiday and California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, and Washington, D.C followed. Today, only four states (Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana) do not recognize Juneteenth. In 2018, Apple added Juneteenth to its calendars in iOS under official US holidays. 

Juneteenth celebrations often focuses on education and prayers with guest speakers and elders who recount the events of the past. Certain foods have became popular with Juneteenth celebrations such as strawberry soda, barbecue,  watermelon and red velvet cake are several red foods, symbolizing the blood and resilience of former slaves. For others, it means indulging in traditional black Southern cuisine like fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.

As Martin Luther King said in his “I have a dream” speech, “Until All are Free, None are Free,” an oft repeated maxim that highlights the significance of the end of the era of slavery in the United States.


The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH), on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, presents educational programs and experiences that preserve, explore, and celebrate the history of Jews in America. Its purpose is to connect Jews more closely to their heritage and to inspire in people of all backgrounds a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American Jewish experience and the freedoms to which Americans aspire.

The Union Reform Judaism (URJ) strives to create a more whole, just, and compassionate world. We motivate people from diverse backgrounds to participate and deepen their engagement in Jewish life; create a more inclusive Jewish community; help congregations stay adept and agile; develop teen and adult leaders to lead transformation for the future; foster meaningful connections to Israel; and agitate for a more progressive society.

Reconstructing Judaism is the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement. We train the next generation of rabbis, support and uplift congregations and  havurot, foster emerging expressions of Jewish life, and encourage people to be their best selves — always helping to shape what it means to be Jewish today and to imagine the Jewish future.

18Doors empowers people in interfaith relationships—individuals, couples, families and their children—to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them

Together with our community, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. MMJCCM imagines Jewish life that is diverse and engages meaningfully with its values, culture, and ideas in everyday lives.

PJ LibraryA program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library delivers more than 680,000 free Jewish children’s books each month in over 30 countries and seven languages. Kids from birth through age eight receive curated book selections and accompanying activities. An older kids’ program, PJ Our Way, gives nine through twelve-year-olds the freedom of choosing their own middle-grade book or graphic novel each month. PJ Library’s books have become everyday favorites, whether the stories serve as first introductions to Jewish values and culture or inspire families to create new Jewish traditions at home. To find out more, visit pjlibrary.org.

One TableOneTable empowers out-of-college millennials (21-39) to find, host, and share Shabbat dinners to make the most of their Friday night and enjoy the best of life together.

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