Rapid Responsa: An Invitation to Meet on 3/27 and Talk About Obama’s Philadelphia Speech on Race and Resentment


This Thursday, March 27, the 16th Street J invites you to join us at 7:30 pm in the bricks and mortar world for a discussion about race, resentment and the cultural moment signified by Barack Obama’s speech on race. We will use Obama’s speech as a “source text” and an opportunity to move beyond political advocacy or opposition to share our individual reactions, how it applies to our communities, adjacent and related communities and what we might have to say to one another. This is an attempt to step outside the predominant conversation of how Obama’s speech affects the campaign horse-race, and rather respond to how the content of Obama’s speech reverberates–or falls short–with each other.

Initiating our discussion will be special guests, Jonetta Rose Barras, political commentator for WAMU-88.5 FM and Ira Forman, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and Research Director of the Solomon Project.

This program is free and open to all members of the Washington community.

Rapid Responsa is a new program of the 16th Street J. It seeks to periodically provide a forum, as public events warrant, to shape a quick, civil discussion on ideas that have immediate cultural relevancy and about which average citizens ought to be able to speak with one another. Responsa have a long history in Judaism, and concern themselves not only with religious matters, but increasingly with contemporary issues, beginning as early as the 14th Century. What we are embracing with this title is not the stamp of authority that a responsa from a learned rabbi brings with it; rather we are embracing the dialectical approach which characterizes a great many of them. In these cases there is a willingness to discuss thesis and antithesis, a participatory Socratic method, and while we expect we will raise more questions than we answer, our hope is that something can be learned.

RSVP to join the conversation.

Read the text of Senator Obama’s speech.

Read Jonetta Rose Barras’ article, “He’s Preaching to A Choir I’ve Left” from the Outlook Section of the Sunday, March 23 Washington Post.

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2 Responses

  1. How timely! Just read Jonetta’s piece on this in the Post. She makes a lot of sense.

    Nice leadership, JCC!

    Thank you!

  2. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Barras’s professionalism. I think, however, that her position (which was eloquently stated in the aforementioned Post article)pretty much guarantees that the “black ” side of this discussion will be fairly one sided…

    Well, we hope that Ms. Barras will be just one of several voices. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, and we are trying to spread the word in the limited time we have to the widest possible audience. –CPO

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