Words create worlds; in order to create the world we want to live in, we need to be clear about what our words mean. We offer this glossary as an invitation to engage safely and respectfully in conversation across difference.
Emor follows the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, which defines it as "discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish)."
Democracy is more than just a system of representative government, in which citizens elect political leaders who are in turn responsible to the electorate. Democracy requires an active civil society, the protection of human rights—especially minority rights, to ensure that democracy does not degenerate into a tyranny of the majority—and a democratic culture of transparency, open-mindedness and public debate. Our colleagues at the nonpartisan Democracy Fund propose a model with six elements for a healthy democracy.
The tendency for people to act upon their prejudices against others without knowingly/cognitively choosing to do so. Implicit bias may affect one’s behavior in anything ranging from deciding policy to interpreting a person’s presence as safe or threatening.
The collective agenda of the organized Jewish community, as expressed in their policies, priorities, and budgets. This, of course, comprises the sum of many small agendas, which may pull in different directions.
This means Jews—of both matrilineal and patrilineal descent, as well as Jews by choice—together with the non-Jews who are part of their families and communities. Jews have lived in every society on every continent, and so this includes Ashkenazim (of European descent), Asian Jews (from China, India, and parts of Russia), BIPOC Jews (Black, Indigenous, People Of Color), Mizrachim (the Israeli term for communities of Middle Eastern/Arab descent), Persians, Sephardim (of Spanish and Portuguese descent), Syrians, and more. As an American organization, Emor primarily uses “Jewish community” to refer to Jews in the United States.
Occupied Palestinian Territories is the official UN nomenclature for the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip–lands occupied by the State of Israel in 1967 and held under military occupation to this day. In Emor’s work, we use this term because it is most consistent with international law and human rights discourse. Many people simply refer to this area as Palestine.
The Jewish community is substantially organized through institutions—a network of synagogues and religious movements, Federations, funders, schools, politicians, cultural institutions, media outlets, and other organizations. For decades, this has overwhelmingly meant the white organized Jewish community, though this is slowly beginning to change as Jews of Color establish organizations, rise to leadership, and claim their space. Many Jews live Jewish lives outside this framework for any number of reasons, including personal preference or because they have been ignored or excluded for their politics, race, economic class, and other factors.
The belief that there are inherent differences between groups of people based on their phenotypical characteristics (i.e. characteristic of physical appearance) that determine that certain groups of people are superior or inferior to others. Both globally and in the United States, racism is reinforced by economic, social, and religious systems of power created to maintain these beliefs. Racism is also, and historically has been, manifested through individual acts of prejudice, discrimination and bias.