SMQN’s Shabbat dinners create an environment where folks do not need to check any part of their identities at the door—where people’s Sephardic and Mizrahi heritage will be embraced, along with their queer identities. The dinners are also a time when we can take ownership of, and reclaim, our connection to Shabbat in a welcoming and affirming space.
Aweku Michal Avera Samuel, an Ethiopian Israeli educator, is pioneering research and initiatives to integrate racial justice into Jewish early childhood curricula. As a key figure in the Shalom Curriculum Project (SCP), she collaborates with the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to create engaging materials that reflect the ethnic diversity of the Jewish community.
Not only will this research shine light on the experiences of adoptees of color, it will allow Jewish adoptees of color to connect with one another through recognition of their unique shared experiences.
To gather this knowledge of communal needs and interests, Metasabiya (Tammy) Habteyes, Program Director at TischPDX, created the 2023 Cultural Shift Survey. This grassroots survey aims to gather hyperlocal data to gain a comprehensive understanding of JoC experiences in the PNW.
Kumi prepares Jewish teens between tenth and twelfth grade for leadership in anti-racist and anti-oppression spaces on college campuses, by equipping them with the skills to identify and disrupt systemic racism and injustice. Kumi features a month of virtual training, and a four day in-person retreat that features two separate tracks: Jews of Color Empowerment for JoC, and Anti-Racist Allies track for white Jewish teens.
“I think those are the three things that we really would like to address for Asian Jews: connection that comes with Jewish learning events, finding belonging in Judaism in a way that feels good, safe, and comfortable, and which also meets you where you are in terms of your Judaism, but also in terms of your Asianness,” said Chishti. “How can we reinvigorate rituals and Jewish texts and history to accommodate your cultures and your identities?”
Pinkney’s time in the JoCI Incubator was one of several crucial mentorship experiences that helped him define his vision for The Workshop. “I want to speak to one thing that has made all the difference in my life. And that is mentorship,” said Pinkney. “It is worth its weight in gold. I cannot emphasize it enough.” Pinkney described a “theory of mentorship” that has formed over the years: a diverse array of mentors, those who provide support financially, emotionally, or career-wise, is crucial in developing the skillset and network necessary to realize a mission, or achieve professional goals, especially as individuals with marginalized identities.
Ronay-Jinich hopes the findings of this study will inspire communities to continue to offer and expand support to multi-ethnic Jewish families and communities, creating a community of inclusion and multiculturalism for future generations.