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Our Democracy: If We Can Keep It with Ruth Messinger

August 20, 2023 @ 11:30 am

- Free
Scholar-In-Residence — Our Democracy: If We Can Keep It with Ruth Messinger. Sunday, August 20; 11:30am; free. Co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Israel, Williams College Jewish Association, First Congregational Church of Williamstown, & the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires. 53 Lois St., North Adams, MA.

Through a collaboration of congregations and institutions throughout Berkshire County, Ruth Messinger will serve as scholar-in-residence on the weekend of August 18-20, speaking in Great Barrington on Friday evening, in Pittsfield on Saturday morning, and in North Adams on Sunday morning. On Sunday morning at 11:30am, Messinger will conclude her weekend residency at Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, speaking on the topic of “Our Democracy: If We Can Keep It.”

We are not living in “usual times.” Various rights we had taken for granted are currently threatened and challenged at all levels of government. Protections for voters are being dismantled every day, and the protections that were in place for women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and immigrants are under fierce attack in many states. Faith-based and race-based groups are often at the forefront of advocating for those under attack — organizing demonstrations, lobbying elected officials, and providing direct service. What should our role be, what are our obligations to our country, and how can we carry them out?

Plan to join us early at 10:30am as we walk the labyrinth and apply that journey to “walking the talk.” Refreshments will be served following Ruth’s talk. Please register via our website if you plan to attend; this program will be held onsite only.

This program is co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Israel, First Congregational Church of Williamstown, Williams College Jewish Association, and the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.

About the Speaker

A trained social worker, Ruth Messinger began her social justice career as a community organizer in rural Western Oklahoma and then in New York City on Manhattan’s West Side. She ran and won a seat on her local school board and then served in NYC government for two decades, first as a Council Member and later as Manhattan Borough President. She was the first woman nominated by the Democratic Party in NY to run for Mayor, losing to Rudy Giuliani in 1997. Messinger became the CEO of American Jewish World Service, a faith-rooted organization that supports local efforts to end poverty and expand human rights, funding more than 400 grassroots projects in 18 countries in the Global South and advocating on their behalf in the US. She stepped down from that position in 2016 but remains AJWS’s Global Ambassador, in addition to consulting, teaching and facilitating on social justice matters for several different faith-based and secular organizations.


August 20, 2023
11:30 am
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Congregation Beth Israel
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Congregation Beth Israel
53 Lois Street
North Adams, MA 01247 United States
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