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Workmen's Circle Chorus still singing out for social justice

My synagogue is active in an interfaith social justice group called the "Greater Boston Interfaith Organization" (GBIO). I recently attended an event involving dozen's of faith communities around the Boston area in support of a couple of causes important to all of us.

To my surprise and pleasure, the chorus singing organizing songs and Yiddish folksongs on the stage was none other than Boston's own Workmen's Circle Chorus. Of course, they were doing nothing other than what they have done since the first socialist secularists founded the Arbeiter Ring (Workmen's Circle) 100? 200? years ago: celebrating Yiddish culture and singing, as expected, for social justice. I was temporarily taken aback by the notion of them joined together with explicitly faith organizations, but realized that faith has many meanings, not all of them tied to ritual spiritual practice.

It was not a profound event, or a profound moment; rather a pleasant reminder that our sense of faith has grown, as has our ability to work together for social justice and for social change. Absent was polarizing insistence of "under god" (consider the recent Supreme Court case on the subject) or fear of "godless Communists aka socialists". Instead, the Workmen's Circle Chorus was reminding us, as did the gospel trio that followed them, of all that unites us, instead.

For more information on GBIO (nothing on Jewish Music, alas—not even klezmer), visit their website. For Yiddishkayt, you'll have to visit the Workmen's Circle website.

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