Jews of color, once sidelined, now being recruited by Jewish agencies

Posted in Articles, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, Social Justice, United States on 2021-09-22 01:46Z by Steven

Jews of color, once sidelined, now being recruited by Jewish agencies

The Jewish News of Northern California
2021-08-05

Rachele Kanigel, Professor of Journalism
San Francisco State University


Paula Pretlow (right) with her daughter Alison in Jerusalem.

During her 13 years as a lay leader in the Jewish community, Paula Pretlow couldn’t help but notice the obvious: When decisions were being made, she usually was the only Jew of color in the room.

As a retired executive of an investment management firm, Pretlow was a “catch” for Jewish organizations. She was well versed in the language of finance, and she had impressive professional experience and connections.

Shortly after she joined Temple Isaiah in Lafayette in 2007, her rabbi suggested she serve on its board of directors. Later, when she moved to San Francisco and joined Congregation Emanu-El, she was asked to join that board. And then a major national philanthropic organization, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, invited her to become a trustee.

Other leaders in the Jewish community sought her counsel. She was a macher, a person of influence. But as a Black woman, she rarely saw other Jews of color in similar positions of power.

That’s begun to change in the past year.

In the 14 months since the brutal murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer transfixed and transformed the nation, Pretlow has seen local and national Jewish organizations not only reach out to Jews of color but start to grapple with the racism that has festered for years in corners of the community…

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Jews Of Color Press For Acceptance

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-10-19 17:58Z by Steven

Jews Of Color Press For Acceptance

The New York Jewish Week
2016-10-06

Hannah Dreyfus, Staff Writer


The Changing face of the Jewish Community. JW

This the first of a two part feature on the changing face of the Jewish Community. Read part two here.

Hair has a lot to do with it, according to Sophia Weinstock.

Weinstock, 21, the daughter of an Ashkenazi father and African-American and Puerto Rican mother, first noticed her hair was different as a young girl growing up in the Orthodox community of Staten Island. Her dark, tightly bound curls, tinged with blond at the ends, resisted all efforts to be tamed, though she tried desperately to pull them back.

“People have always looked at my hair, even touched my hair, and said, ‘Wow, you look so ethnic!’” said the law school-bound Columbia University senior. “I hate that word. It’s like this encapsulating term for everything that is ‘other.’”…

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This Passover Choose Judaism

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-03-16 01:53Z by Steven

This Passover Choose Judaism

My Jewish Learning
Be’chol Lashon
2015-03-10

Alex Barnett

My wife and I are an interracial couple. I am a White, Ashkenazi Jewish man from New York. She is a Black woman from Detroit, raised in the Lutheran faith, who converted (to Jewish, not to White. She’s still Black). Our 3 year old Biracial son is Jewish.

When I talk about my wife’s conversion, rather than saying she converted I like to say that she’s Jewish by choice. I do this because conversion sounds like the process by which a sofa becomes an uncomfortable bed. Or it sounds like something that happens by magic. I wave my magic wand and “poof” you’re Jewish. Whereas being a Jewish person by choice requires a conscious affirmative decision.

And make no mistake, being Jewish is a choice, whether you were born into our Tribe or whether you joined us midway through the show…

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