“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?”
When she decided to run for Board of Supervisors in District 7, which encompasses many neighborhoods in Western San Francisco, some of her colleagues expressed doubt.“It's a conservative district. You're too progressive. You have no chance,” Melgar recalled being told. “And I was like, I'm used to walking in different worlds. I'm Jewish, I'm Latina, I'm an immigrant. I'm so many different things. My synagogue is in this district. My kids all went to school in this district. I know all the PTA moms and all the soccer moms. I walk in different universes and I think that gave me that ability to just talk to different people, and connect with them.”
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.