Bio of Barbara Gross

Proposed Candidate for the Kolot Chayeinu Board of Directors 5778

The Kolot Nominating Committee asked Barbara Gross, the proposed candidate, to respond to these questions:

What brought you to Kolot? What do you appreciate/Why are you a member/How long have you been involved?

I have been a member of Kolot since we had Shabbat services in a circle in the balcony at Gethsemene. I joined soon after my father died twenty years ago. Even before I was a member, I was invited to participate in a grief group and many years later, my aging mother was fully embraced by the community. As a family, we have gone through many joys and sorrows, always with the support of the Kolot clergy and amazing congregation. In addition, in my experience, no other synagogue is as truly committed to action for social justice, to the full participation of all that are willing, and in recent years, to racial justice and anti-racism work. I have been privileged to be a member of the Race Working Group since its beginnings. Lastly, I love the services at Kolot. I grew up in a tight-knit Jewish community and love the music, the warmth, and the spirit on Shabbat mornings. I appreciate all of this and much more.

Where do you live?

My roots are in Brooklyn. My mother was born and raised in Brownsville. I moved here about 25 years ago. I now live in Prospect Lefferts with my wife and two of our four children (it may be three or even four of four by the summer!). 

How have you been involved?

Early on, I served on a committee that rewrote the bylaws. I’ve also helped to facilitate discussions at a congregational meeting or two, been a Shabbat morning regular, and am a parent in the Children’s Learning Program (CLP). I am most proud of the work I have been involved with as a member of the Race Working Group since its inception 5 years ago.

What do you hope to bring to the Board?

I hope I can contribute in many ways. I have worked as a community and education justice organizer, trainer, and TA provider and through that work have gained experience in organization building, leadership development, facilitation, supervision of staff, and occasional proposal writing. I hope to bring my ever-evolving understanding of race and racism and what it means to be white in a racist system, continuing to build upon the work of the Race Working Group as we strive to be an anti-racist congregation; challenging ourselves to address our own (often unconscious) complicity in that system. For those of us who are white: what we have inherited, benefit from, and internalized is not our fault, but it is our responsibility to change our ways of being in our synagogue, city, and world. I am very excited for the steps Kolot has already taken and for the work that we will do together in the future. 

 

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