SOULIFT: Healing Into Action | Words from Cherie Brown

By Cherie Brown

Led by Rabbi Shefa Gold and Cherie Brown, SOULIFT: Healing Into Action is designed for activists and seekers who want to integrate nurturing their inner lives with taking principled actions in the world, so that every action we take can be grounded in intelligent compassion, with awareness and with a both deeply human and a soul perspective. SOULIFT: Healing Into Action will take place February 4 – 10, 2019, in Tampa, Florida. Learn more here.

I am a lifetime Jewish activist and a member of a Renewal Congregation in the metro D.C. Area: Am Kolel. For the past 42 years, I have had the honor of being the International Jewish Liberation Reference Person in Re-Evaluation Counseling (Co-Counseling). As part of this work, I have led hundreds of workshops with Jews around the world on healing from the effects of anti-Semitism, internalized anti-Semitism, the intersection of anti-Semitism and racism, and Israel/Palestine issues.

From 1979-1984, I was a consultant to the National Affairs Staff at the American Jewish Committee, writing manuals and developing models on how to lead workshops on Black Jewish issues and Inter-group/Inter-Ethnic Coalition Building.

Inspired by the work with AJC, in the summer of 1984, I launched an organization, the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) to train activists from all over the world in Coalition Building and anti-oppression work. Thirty-four years later, NCBI ( is still going strong. We have built diversity, equity, and inclusion resource teams on dozens of college campuses, in schools across the U.S. and overseas, and we lead trust building/bridge building work between law enforcement and community activists. Through this work, I have come to understand the powerful role of healing work for activists and people interested in ending racism and all forms of oppression.

For the past many years, I have also been an adjunct faculty at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, teaching courses on Diversity Leadership and Conflict Resolution for Rabbis on the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

I made a firm commitment several years ago to begin working intensely with young adults and to build intergenerational partnerships to be able to pass on wisdom from decades of activism. Towards this goal, I have been leading weekend trainings with Dove Kent and Helen Bennet for young adult activists in their 20’s and 30’s on anti-Semitism, internalized anti-Semitism, the intersection of anti-Semitism and racism and how all this impacts activism on Israel and Palestine work. In addition, I’ve led several weekend training programs for the leadership of If Not Now, helping them to build a strong, vibrant organization of young adult activists who are both proud as Jews and working to end the occupation while at the same time, developing internal practices that include treating their leaders well.

I’m very excited about partnering with Rabbi Shefa Gold to lead this SOULIFT. For years, Shefa and I have been eager to put together a program that combines our unique skills. I have been a fond supporter of Shefa’s work for many years. And I believe deeply that the world needs spiritual leaders who also have access to their own inherit ability to heal from past hurts (grief, fear, or shame) and can lead others with compassion, generosity, and wisdom. In this retreat, I will be working alongside Shefa—and teaching healing practices from re-evaluation counseling that include listening pairs and work on internalized oppression to empower all of us to find our unique voices and unique journey into activism.

To learn more about SOULIFT: Healing Into Action, click here.