Building the Bay: Empowering Community-Centered JoC Futures

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.

Meet Cohort 2 of our Leadership Fellowship

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.

Archival Research Brings Intersectionality to the Forefront of American Jewish Studies

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.  

Incubator Showcase Demonstrates the Power of Supporting JoC Leaders

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.

Words of Wisdom from the 2022 Fellowship Commencement

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.

Building Bridges for Jews of Color During Conversion

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. 

Moving Towards Collective Change

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 in Grantmaking

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.

This Year in Research

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.

The Story Behind Our Upcoming Philanthropy Guide

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.

My Story of Paradise

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.

The Journey By Which We Got There

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. 

How Judaism Hurt Me and JoCI Healed Me

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.

Revitalizing Ritual: Kohenet Keshira HaLev Fife and Embodied Judaism

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 Beyond the Page

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.

Justice-Guided Judaism for the Multiracial Future

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.

A Lesson in Rest and Joy for the Jewish Leap Year 

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. 

Bringing Beyond the Count to Reform Movement Institutions

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. 

“A Little Bit of Me at the Shabbat Table”: Bringing Whole Identities to the Shabbat Table

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. 

Double Consciousness and Multifaceted JoC Identities

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.” 

How Tokenism Affects Jews of Color and 5 Ways Allies Can Interrupt It

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.