Rabbi Rachel Timoner
In Judaism, the Torah and tradition center a culture of giving – and teach that giving is not something you do simply to be nice, but as a duty expected from everyone. According to Rabbi Rachel Timoner this concept, tzedakah, is often translated from Hebrew as “charity,” but a more direct translation would be “justice.”
Rabbi Timoner is no stranger to justice, and over many years she has strengthened the borough through her work as a spiritual leader and community advocate.
As Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim, she strives to help community members deepen relationships with their faith and each other through various initiatives. From weekly classes to explore the meaning and experience of prayer, a study series on systemic racism in America, a sukkah about the refugee experience, interfaith coalitions to address racism and antisemitism in Brooklyn, and more, her work is guided by both generosity and justice.
“To be in the world, we must see ourselves as agents of justice,” she explained. “Part of how we enact justice with our lives is through our words and through our actions, and part of how we enact justice through our lives is giving what we have.”
As a board member at Brooklyn Org and an advisor during our early days of adopting a racial justice model, Rabbi Timoner has been integral to our growth as a resource by and for the community: “One of the things that became apparent for Brooklyn Org years ago is that to be a community foundation in Brooklyn, you can’t be race-neutral or racially blind,” she explained. “When we have that consciousness, it means really being willing to look at all of our practices to see that we are reflecting the true needs of the community. If we’re going to do it right, it has to be from the perspective of upending racism.”
To be in the world, we must see ourselves as agents of justice. Part of how we enact justice with our lives is through our words and through our actions, and part of how we enact justice through our lives is giving what we have.Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Brooklyn Org Board Member
Brooklyn Org has grown to be a staunch and unapologetic advocate of racial justice in a place that she loves for its vibrancy and sense of community: “I think Brooklyn Org is rare, if not unique, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.” Rabbi Timoner also noted the reach of our impact, sharing that “Brooklyn Org is focused on the entire borough and aims to make the borough more fair and just, and it is leveraging resources to do that.” We are honored to partner with Rabbi Timoner, and are thankful for her leadership and dedication to the borough we all love.