The mission of Rekindle is to create meaningful social change in Omaha by bringing leaders from the African-American and Jewish communities together for friendly and challenging dialogue, face-to-face interactions, breaking down barriers, and building new relationships. By rekindling the strong relationships and collaborative action between the Black and Jewish communities that were built here during the Civil Rights Movement, we can accelerate our collective impact and increase equity in Omaha and throughout the country. We welcome Fellows to challenge themselves, expand their worldviews, and take action to advance social justice to Omaha and around our country.
A leader in Omaha’s Black community, Bobby Brumfield is a former Omaha Police Department detective, Federal Bureau of Investigations Safe Streets Task Force member, and retired U.S. Marine. He owns a security consulting firm, and has been a mentor and advocate for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Bobby has dedicated his life to influencing those around him in a positive and uplifting way.
In addition to being a licensed professional clinical counselor, Holly Pearlman is a Melton Fellow and has a Masters in Holocaust and Genocide studies. As a Jew of mixed race, she was especially excited to co-chair Rekindle.
Meetings for the Inaugural Cohort will take place:
Thursdays, 6 – 9 pm
Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the UNO campus
Seminars are always three hours long, with four sessions per cohort. If this cohort’s dates don’t work for you, join our email list and we’ll let you know as soon as the next cohort’s dates are announced.
Rekindle’s goal is to invest in leaders from the Black and Jewish communities, helping them advance their own knowledge and skills while giving them new resources and connections along the way. If you already know where you want to focus, Rekindle will accelerate your work by connecting you with other like-minded Fellows. If you’re not sure what to do next, Rekindle will connect you with tangible opportunities to make a difference – and new friends to help you on your journey. Regardless of where you’re coming from or where you want to go next, Rekindle will connect you to a new and dynamic community, challenge you, expand your worldview, and rekindle your passion for leadership and social justice.
We are looking for people who are passionate about making social change, are looking for new allies and partners, and have already begun the work of exploring racial injustice. Whether you’ve read a handful of books, attended a Racial Equity Institute (REI) training, or watched movies on the topic, we want you to come in with significant background knowledge. For those who have started their racial equity journey, Rekindle will be an excellent way to share your projects and ideas with like-minded future partners in action.
In short, we want you to show us that you’re a changemaker, whether formally or informally; that you’ve started your racial justice journey; that you bring a new, different, or unique perspective to our cohort; and that you will make the most of this opportunity.
No, there is no cost to apply or for Fellows to participate, but we ask for a contribution of any size. We ask for a contribution that is meaningful to you and within your means and comfort level. This model ensures everyone is a stakeholder and values the Fellowship. Plus, we provide expert moderation and a tasty meal at every session! We do ask that all our Fellows agree to the commitments, including living out their Action Stand; in other words, pay it forward through your actions to create a more just and equitable world.
Our community has had its challenges in recent years as our nation is undergoing a radical awakening around race relations and social justice, but there is still so much more to do to bring equity to American society. That work can only be done by fostering new collaborations between communities. The American Black (predominately Christian) and (predominately white) Jewish communities have shared values and commitments around social justice. Likewise, both communities have unique strengths and assets in organizing and mobilizing community members around critical issues. However, Omaha is a particularly segregated city – both geographically and spiritually. One of the most important goals we wish to achieve and model for the rest of our community is removing those barriers that have kept us working in parallel rather than in partnership.
Co-founded in Cleveland, OH, by Charmaine Rice, a trained DEI facilitator and inclusive leader, and Matt Fieldman, a social entrepreneur and nonprofit professional, Rekindle is a deliberate way to bring our diverse communities together. Comprised of intensive and structured dialogue, Rekindle sessions not only empower participants to become better racial equity change-makers, but also inspire action, both individually and collectively.
The Fellowship includes four learning sessions, during which time the participants reflect on various readings. The readings represent a diversity of Jewish and secular thought: from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. to an article on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Civil Rights activism; from a poem by Langston Hughes to “How Did Jews Become White Folks?” by Karen Brodkin. Fellows also join together on Rekindle Action teams to make a tangible change in their community. We also hold regular social gatherings to help connect Fellows between cohorts and inspire collaboration and progress.
To date, Rekindle has graduated more than eight cohorts in Cleveland and is launching in Omaha, Rochester, NY, New Orleans, LA, Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Newark, NJ, with fellows who represent a diverse mix of professional roles, including philanthropy, media, business, economic development, and more. Check out the pictures here.
Fellows have launched a wide range of collaborative projects around fostering entrepreneurship, women-focused programming, social get-togethers, criminal justice reform, and more. When alumni have been surveyed six months after their Fellowship, they report that they continue to connect with the other community, advocate for the other community, challenge biases they have identified in their own communities, and much more.