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Expanding Intergenerational Bonds: Second Round of Grants Stewarded by JoCI Philanthropy Fellows

Building on the success of their first round of eight grants, the JoCI Philanthropy Fellows—Ilana Ybgi, Santy Barrera, and Maya Katz-Ali—are delighted to announce the second round of grants made in response to their open request for proposals (RFP). Continuing their efforts to foster intergenerational bonds among Jews of Color, these new grants represent another step forward in preserving cultural traditions, amplifying voices, and strengthening connections within the JoC community. Learn more about these inspiring projects below!


Colorful Stories in Jewish History, fiscally sponsored by Pluma Poetica del Arte

“Colorful Stories in Jewish History” is a series of short, illustrated animated videos that explore the cultural narratives and identities of Jews of Color (JoC). Led by a project leader, the initiative aims to foster a connection between JoC individuals and their heritage while educating the broader community about the diversity within Jewish family traditions. Through interviews with 22 JoC participants, the project will delve into their family stories, focusing on special Jewish traditions passed down through generations, the role of conversion within their family history, and their perspective on their role as JoC within the broader Jewish community. The project seeks to bridge generational gaps and promote understanding through the power of storytelling.


Edot: “Thread of Tradition: Unveiling JOC Narratives in the Midwest”, fiscally sponsored by Center for Community Stewardship

“Threads of Tradition” is an innovative oral history project designed to showcase the diverse narratives of Jews of Color (JoC) in the Midwest. Focused on identity, community involvement, and the experiences of being part of predominantly white Jewish and Midwestern communities, the project plans to document the stories of 20 JoC individuals spanning various ages—from youth to seniors—through intimate interviews. Interviews will explore the challenges and successes of navigating dual identities within the Jewish community and the Midwest. Through intergenerational dialogues, participants will connect with JoC of different age groups, exploring dimensions of identity, examining community dynamics in predominantly white congregations, delving into the unique aspects of Midwest living for Jews of Color, and fostering understanding through intergenerational dialogue.


Emaye’s Kitchen: “Beta Israel Traditional Cooking Videos,” fiscally sponsored by Be’chol Lashon

This initiative celebrates Ethiopian Jewish heritage by providing a platform for Ethiopian women to share their stories through cooking, thus preserving their traditions and history. Through a series of cooking videos intertwined with storytelling sessions, participants will share personal narratives, community history, and traditions. The project aims to create at least five cooking videos featuring Ethiopian Jewish traditional meals prepared by Ethiopian Israelis in the United States. Key goals include increasing representation of Ethiopian Jewish women in mainstream platforms, raising cultural awareness, fostering community connections, promoting educational integration, facilitating cultural exchange, and collaborating with influencers to amplify the project’s message.


Embrace Harlem: “Shabbat Stories”

Embrace Harlem is developing a youth multimedia learning program called “Shabbat Stories” that focuses on expanding understandings of Jewish identity through community storytelling. The project will recruit a diverse cohort of 10-15 Jewish youth who, through a semester-long monthly workshop series, will learn about storytelling, oral history, and film and audio documentary production. The program will culminate in a live event showcasing the program’s JoC leaders and celebrating their intergenerational family stories. Through this program, Embrace Harlem seeks to build stronger connections with and support for JoC youth and their families, while also uplifting and highlighting their stories and connection to Jewish life in Harlem and more broadly.


Jewish Food Society: “Voices of the Diaspora: Preserving JoC Stories and Recipes on College Campuses and Online”

Jewish Food Society will build on their core work of preserving diverse family stories and recipes by hosting JoC culinary workshops on college campuses. The organization will gather stories, photos, and recipes to highlight JoC intergenerational family food traditions. These stories will be used as content to inspire young JoC students through hands-on culinary workshops on college campuses. The aim of bringing these workshops to JoC students on campuses is to address the lack of opportunities for students who identify as JoC to gather in community on college campuses. JFS will work in collaboration with existing organizations to draw in and welcome JoC using these food-centered materials. The end goal of this piece is to empower JoC students to research and share their own family stories and recipes and foster intergenerational connections.


Let My People Sing!

Let My People Sing! is building a listening tour project called Songs for the Soul: LMPS Programming by and for JOC, where discussion groups and affinity spaces led by JoC clergy and song leaders will develop musical curriculum. Virtual planning and co-design sessions will bring together JoC project collaborators to clarify and develop program content. Project Collaborators will offer programming that includes cultural-specific learning spaces specifically for Jews of Color, JoC programming at in-person regional gatherings of JoC, and a JoC caucus space at the 4-day Let My People Sing! in-person retreat. Through this effort, “Songs for the Soul” will support JoC in their faith practices within BIPOC spaces.


PHonk!Philly: “Crossing Cultures, Crafting Narratives: Black Jewish American Artistry,” fiscally sponsored by Painted Bride Art Center

Guided by the Trauma-Informed Teaching Artist & Artistic Director of PHonk!Philly, Elaine Smith Holton, this grant supports the initial stage of a two-year project focused on researching the experiences and creative expressions of Black American Jewish artists. Highlighting a dynamic demographic positioned at the intersection of historically rich and diverse communities, this project will involve interviews with five Black American Jewish artists and creatives every three months, exploring their identities, artistic influences, and contributions to connecting Black and Jewish communities. Ultimately, these interviews will lead to the production of a podcast series in 2024, followed by the creation of a digital archive in 2025, housing the collected research data, with potential opportunities to showcase Black American Jewish artists’ creative works.

Date Posted

May 2024


Jews of Color Initiative