Register in advance. Join Be’chol Lashon and an extraordinary roster of presenters to welcome Shabbat and learn about Juneteenth.
About this event
This Friday, join Be'chol Lashon and a stellar roster of co-hosts and presenters for a joyous Juneteenth Kabbalat Shabbat! Featuring Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Rabbi Isaiah J. Rothstein, Robin Washington, Eric Greene, Sabrina Sojourner, Rebecca S'menga Frank, and Marcella White Campbell. Celebrate and honor Juneteenth with music, history, prayer, and more.
Co-Hosts: OneTable, National Museum of American Jewish History, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Union for Reform Judaism, PJ Library, 18Doors, The Jewish Federations of North America, Keshet, Reconstructing Judaism, Avodah's Jews of Color Bayit
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 focus on education and prayers with guest speakers and elders who recount the events of the past. Certain foods have become 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.