Juneteenth Kabbalat Shabbat

Friday, Jun 18, 2021

Friday, June 18 at 5:00pm ET
See “Ways to Watch” below

We are honored to help present this Kabbalat Shabbat organized by our friends at Be’chol Lashon in celebration of the most recognized African-American holiday observance in the United States. The program will be feature appearances by Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Cantor Sabrina Sojourner, Isaiah Rothstein, Rebecca S’Manga Frank, and Robin Washington

About Juneteenth

June 19, 1865 is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and that 250,000 enslaved people were now free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier (January 1, 1863), Texas was the most remote of the slave states with few Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow.

Juneteenth continues to expand as Black Americans seek to make sure that the events of 1865 are not lost to history. Juneteenth is increasing in popularity in the US and activists are pushing Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. On January 1, 1980,  “Emancipation Day in Texas” became an official state holiday and California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, and Washington, D.C followed. Today, only four states (Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana) do not recognize Juneteenth. In 2018, Apple added Juneteenth to its calendars in iOS under official US holidays.

Juneteenth celebrations often focuses on education and prayers with guest speakers and elders who recount the events of the past. Certain foods have became popular with Juneteenth celebrations such as strawberry soda, barbecue,  watermelon and red velvet cake are several red foods, symbolizing the blood and resilience of former slaves. For others, it means indulging in traditional black Southern cuisine like fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.

As Martin Luther King said in his “I have a dream” speech, “Until All are Free, None are Free,” an oft repeated maxim that highlights the significance of the end of the era of slavery in the United States.

Ways to Watch

Youtube: All who register will receive a reminder email containing the link to the event one week before the event and one hour before the event starts. Click here to register.

NMAJH website: A little before the program start time, the livestream will also be available at the top of this page. You will be prompted to enter your email address. Please note that you may need to refresh your screen and press “play” on the video—the static image will be replaced with the live feed before the program starts.


This program is organized by Be’chol Lashon in partnership with The National Museum of American Jewish History, OneTable, 18Doors, JCC Manhattan, the Union for Reform Judaism and the PJ Library.