Grantee in the News | Jun 2024

JCCSF invites prominent Black Jews to lead its first Juneteenth event

Originally published in The Jewish News of Northern California

Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell will perform at “Erev Juneteenth” on June 18. (Illustration/Cameron Frazier)


Public celebrations of Juneteenth have been held in African American communities for generations, especially in the South, but they are a relatively new phenomenon in Jewish communities.

On Tuesday, June 18, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco will host its first Juneteenth event — actually an “Erev Juneteenth” event, since it will take place the night before the national holiday. Three prominent Black Jews will preside over the festivities: Ilana Kaufman, CEO of the Berkeley-based Jews of Color Initiative; Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, the Yiddish vocalist and composer who has strong ties to the Bay Area; and award-winning writer and chef Michael Twitty, who inspired and helped organize the event.

“It’ll be our first official Juneteenth celebration, and we hope it will bring Black Jews and non-Black Jews in the area to celebrate together,” Stephanie Singer, JCCSF’s director of arts and ideas, told J. “We’re all very excited about it.”

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