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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“I want to see more examples in media, on stages, both commercial and non-commercial, of JOCISM folks being able to take up their full identities and tell their stories.” Though Pinkney doesn’t want to force the artists to create works that are about their identities, he believes that the work that will emerge will diversify who we think of as a Jew.
Hillel is looking to expand their reach to the Jews of Color community, recognizing that Jews of Color are more highly represented among young adult Jews, their target population at their 500 university campus locations.
Ray Williams just finished their freshman year in high school, but their vision for Jewish leadership is one that reflects experiences of Jews of Color across generations.