During Black History Month in February, Temple Beth El of Boca Raton will welcome Richard Antoine White, best-selling author of his memoir “I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream.” White will speak at a series of educational and inspirational lectures of hope and survival both at the synagogue as well as the surrounding community, where he will meet with at-risk youth.
A longtime dear friend of Temple Beth El Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen, White is a tenured professor, accomplished musician, philanthropist, author and motivational speaker. He is a tuba professor at the University of New Mexico and the principal tuba player of two orchestras in New Mexico. His story began as a child of a teenage alcoholic mother, growing up homeless on the streets of Baltimore. Thanks to a village of incredible people, Richard is the first African-American man to receive a doctorate in tuba.
A sought-after speaker, Richard has shared his inspirational story of hope and survival on the CBS Evening News, the NBC Today Show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as well as many other media outlets and organizations. Information about Dr. White’s life and music, as well as the events held at Temple Beth El are located at tbeboca.org/event/hope-and-resilience-an-evening-with-richard-antoine-white/
Michelle Auslander Cohen shares, “Richard is a living example who practices so many of the values that we as a Jewish people hold dear. His resilience from being born to a homeless family to being a published author and the first black man to ever receive a doctorate in tuba is remarkable. His drive to help the village that supported his journey is unwavering, and his dedication to Tikkun Olam (making the world a better place) is inspirational.”
Programs at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton
The main program, Hope and Resilience will be presented on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 7:30 pm at the Beth El Schaefer Family Campus in east Boca Raton. This will be an inspiring and enlightening evening, as Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen interviews Richard Antoine White regarding his life story. The public is welcome to attend in-person or view the livestream at Virtual Beth El. There is no fee; however, registration is required at tbeboca.org/events for in-person attendance.
Additionally, for members of Temple Beth El, Richard Antoine White will participate in three programs for both adults and teens.
The first is a virtual program limited to members of Temple Beth El’s Chavurot and Movie Circle group members, entitled R.A.W. TUBA: Documentary and Discussion. During this program there will be a screening of Richard’s short documentary film which focuses on the hardships of homelessness and the challenges Richard endured and overcame. Following that there will be a discussion with Richard led by Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Mates and Michelle Auslander Cohen.
In order to share his important message with our youth, Temple Beth El middle and high school religious school students and their families will have an opportunity to meet Richard in person at the Beck Family Campus during their class time for An Evening of Hope and Motivation. He will teach about perspective and perseverance and about his feelings on life’s 3 “C”’s: Chance, Choice and Change.
“I hope our students find connection in Mr. White’s story of resilience that resonates and inspires them to find the light whenever they are struggling,” says Heather Erez, Director of Youth Education and Engagement.
In the Community
Richard Antoine White will also appear at two programs in the surrounding area during the week he is spending in Boca Raton. “Bringing him into our Jewish community and our community at large brings us one step closer to understanding that there is more that unites us than divides us,” says Michelle Auslander Cohen.
Richard Antoine White will speak to at-risk youth through a special program with the Boynton Beach Police Department. He will conduct another discussion at the Spady Museum in conjunction with the EJS Project. Both programs will be sixty-minutes in length and include a 20-minute talk followed by a Q & A session, a presentation of his documentary film, a musical performance on the tuba, and conclude with a small reception.
He is also meeting with a panel of local civic leaders committed to move the needle on racial justice, and on which Rabbi Jessica Mates also serves.
“Richard Antoine White’s story is incredibly inspiring, and has an important lesson for us all to learn,” says Rabbi Greg Weisman who spearheads the Racial Equity Initiative as part of the Social Action and Social Justice program at Temple Beth El.
He continues, “We know from stories like his that sometimes it takes loving people who see the humanity in a stranger to nurture and support them as they discover who they are. I am thrilled that Richard is coming to Temple Beth El. I am proud that part of what we will be doing together is sharing his story with other folks who look like him, who can identify with and be inspired by him. As a congregation that is passionately concerned about racial equity in our community, his visit is a wonderful way to raise awareness of the inequalities that too many people of color continue to face.”
For more information on media coverage for any of these events or interview requests please contact Helayne Rosenblum at 561-391-8900 or email her at [email protected].