The use of theater as an educational form that involves students in the narrative production of new experiences is a critical pedagogical innovation. The team at EBN understands the power of storytelling in all cultures, not just Black or Jewish, and harnesses that power to advance racial equity.
In their study, Rose Espinola will collect oral histories about traditions and spirituality among Jews of Color during pregnancy, birth, abortion, pregnancy loss, and post-partum. “As a data scientist, I love oral history,” Espinola said. “I know that data comes in many forms and that qualitative data is really rich.”
Having spent her life in the Bay Area, Kaufman is uniquely positioned to speak to the Beyond the Count data from a local perspective. This local lens is indispensable when considering community need and leadership opportunities. Following a presentation of the Beyond the Count findings, JoCI hosted a roundtable lunch for Jewish leaders of Color in the Bay Area.
The Jews of Color Initiative is proud and excited to announce our second ever cohort of our JoCI Leadership Fellowship. Our six Fellows have each been placed in various leadership positions in the New York City Jewish organizational ecosystem, where they will continue their work as activists, educators, and leaders.
This year, the Incubator cohort features six Jewish leaders of Color representing four innovative projects that are shaping the field for Jews of Color.
With our 2022-2023 grantmaking cycle now open, we want to connect with leaders who have a vision for the JoC community.
In Summer of 2022, Lingxuan Liang began digging into archives to investigate the history of American Jews adopting Asian children. Liang is a graduate student at Brandeis University where she studies American Jewish history. Her intersectional identity as a Jew of Color informs her research as she unearths forgotten histories and new narratives at the intersection of race and religion.
At the completion of the Incubator’s successful pilot year, leaders from the first cohort presented their learnings and accomplishments to colleagues, peers, friends, and family at a showcase event to demonstrate the program’s importance, and the impact their projects will have on the field.
Throughout the ten months of the Jews of Color Initiative’s Leadership Fellowship, members of the first cohort experienced both a professional and personal transformation. On August 2, the Fellowship ended with a powerful commencement ceremony in which Fellows reflected on the program.
Jill Housen advocated for a paid consultant position to develop a formal mentorship program that connects those who are converting to JoC mentors in the community. Housen’s program currently has seven mentor-mentee pairs, which she oversees to gain insights into the needs of those who are seeking to join the community.
Merging her academic training with her community-building among Latino Jews, Ariela Ronay-Jinich developed a research study that explores how Latino Jewish parents navigate the process of transmitting culture, language, and values to their children.
Change is happening because change is being generated through different strategies, all aligned toward a common goal to create more inclusive, welcoming Jewish communities that reflect the multiracial reality of Jewish people today.
This year has been full of growth for JoCI grantmaking. We embarked on a deep listening campaign from our grantees and community leaders to ensure that our work continues to be in service to, and addresses communal needs for Jews of Color.
Beyond the Count helps make clear for our professional and communal ecosystem the enormous value of nurturing Jewish spaces that center and honor JoC. And it was the national response to the report itself that communicated how important Beyond the Count is to American Jews, and the wider, religiously integrated national community.
This article explores what thought leaders and research participants who are Jews of Color think about the uses and limitations for employing this term.
Bringing together Kaufman’s expertise on racial equity for Jews of Color and Rhodes’ capacity to reach next generation philanthropists, the two leaders developed the concept for the book that could serve as a guide for up-and-coming donors.
For Jackson, seeing the expansion of JoC-led organizations has been a powerful experience that demonstrates the communal need and interest for engaging with the Jewish community’s racially and ethnically diverse reality.
I’ve always wondered how one passes on traditions, stories of old and new. What echoes from one life to another, what we carry. To be both Black and Jewish is to hear two stories of a Paradise both loved and lost.
Amidst their busy calendars, we asked the Fellows to pause and think back to their accomplishments, learning, and new visions for the future that they have cultivated throughout the Fellowship.
By contrast, community among the Fellows has a different dynamic, in which one does not have to start from the place of explaining oneself or justifying one’s existence. Instead, we can focus on really knowing and supporting each other.
Heavy on the predominantly white spaces, my previous experiences within the Jewish ecosystem made discovering the Jews of Color Initiative and the Fellowship opportunity shared with me by the illustrious Rabbi Mira Rivera, feel so revolutionary. In both professional and personal ways, my involvement with the Initiative as an inaugural Fellow continues to change my life.
Maayan Zik, Director of Communications at Kamochah, said that for her, one of the primary goals of the New York chapter is to develop more programming to engage Black Jewish youth, Orthodox or not.
Experimentation, for Kohenet Keshira, is the name of the game when it comes to contributing to the contemporary practice of Judaism. “Judaism is precious and strong. It can withstand some tinkering and some exploration and experimentation,” Kohenet Keshira said in a calm and loving voice. “In fact, Judaism writ large is a grand experiment. It always has been.”
Beyond the Count was always meant to live off the page. Here's how some organizations and leaders across the country are using Beyond the Count—and how you can too.
Tonda Case and Arya Marvazy, our two new senior staff, have started shaping a new chapter for JoCI. We sat down with them to learn more about who they are, what their role at the Initiative is, and their vision for the future of JoCI.
In order to make space for the multiracial future that is dawning, the white Jewish community cannot only view Jews of Color through the racial harm they face, but also must begin to honor the vibrancy they infuse into contemporary American Judaism.
In Hebrew, the leap year is called shanah me’uberet, which translates literally to “a pregnant year.” This year, we are creating a new life, which feels very apropos as we transition to whatever reality is to come after COVID, which has dominated our lives for so long. It is amazing that in this new beginning, we have been gifted a year of rest and two months of joy to center ourselves and our values.
An event with the URJ and the RAC drew prominent Jewish leaders of Color and allies. From sharing shocking statistics and quotes from the study to holding an affinity space for Jews of Color to reflect on the findings, this event set the tone for Reform Movement-wide institutional change.
The saying goes, “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” Although many Jews do not have a weekly Shabbat observance, there is something special about the weekly rhythm of Shabbat. Maya Katz Ali, a JoC leader at OneTable, believes Shabbat has the power to be what you make it. She supports other Jews of Color in developing and hosting Shabbat dinners that reflect their full selves.
Having to navigate others’ perceptions is exhausting—some even refer to this as racial fatigue. In our report’s section on double consciousness, the research team writes, “Many of our study’s participants shared how they consciously compartmentalize parts of themselves in order to reduce the stress of double consciousness.”
As the white Jewish community confronts the reality that Jews of Color have long been excluded from communal and institutional Jewish settings, many community members and organizations are seeking to include Jews of Color. While inclusion efforts must be made to counteract the inequities that persist in our community, efforts that rely on tokenism will not heal our racial wounds.
BJLC’s vision prioritizes generating Black joy through Black Jewish theology and political organizing. Embedded in this vision is a dedication to build up the role of Black Jewish organizing among the Black liberation movement, aligning Black movement organizers with one another.
We sat down with Riki Robinson, Program Director of the New York Hub, to understand more about the Incubator, its potential impact on participants, and how to know which projects and project leaders are best suited for it.