Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 19:47Z by Steven

Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-28

Keren Soffer Sharon
Queens, New York

As a Mizrahi Jew organizing for justice in my city, I initially questioned whether I had a role to play in the upcoming National Jews of Color Convening. Even though I co-founded the Mizrahi Caucus at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice [JFREJ], I still doubted whether I — a half-Iraqi Jew who has been racialized as white in this country — had any right showing up at this thing. And I sure as hell questioned whether I had any right to lead.

But my discomfort showed me precisely what our movement stands to gain when we collectively identify as Jews of Color, Sephardim, and Mizrahim in our intersectional struggles for the liberation of all people.

I began organizing at JFREJ as a self-identified white person, interested in moving past my immobilizing guilt over racial privilege into accountable action to transform the systems that exploit low-income folks, people of color, and immigrants in my city. It was through finding a Jewish Left community that is committed to ending racism in all of its forms that I came into a deeper understanding of how I can do that work as a mixed-race Mizrahi Jew, who is both white and Arab at once…

Read the entire article here.

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“Diversity” Won’t Challenge Jewry’s Role in White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 19:36Z by Steven

“Diversity” Won’t Challenge Jewry’s Role in White Supremacy

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-27

Mark Tseng Putterman
New York, New York

In addition to my own mother, “Linda” was the only other Asian American woman at the Reform synagogue I grew up attending. It was a friendly, liberal, and white Jewish space in our affluent New England suburb, a space where I often felt welcome while always, at some level, aware that I could count the number of people of color in our synagogue on one hand. That didn’t stop my indomitable mother from becoming more and more invested in our Jewish community. But amidst her drive and commitment to her adopted community was a twinge of cynicism: when she became our temple’s president, she joked that she only did it so that people would finally stop confusing her with Linda.

I wonder — would our temple peers have been better able to decipher my mother’s “foreign” face  if there were simply more of us? Would a more diverse congregation have prepared our white, liberal, and colorblind community to address the realities of racism for Jewish youth of color like myself? To prepare my youth leader to unpack why El Al security singled me out for questioning during my 9th grade trip to Israel? Or to provide my white Jewish peer with the language with which to challenge the Hasidic man who questioned her of my presence on our flight there?…

Read the entire article here.

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Jews of Color National Convening

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 02:21Z by Steven

Jews of Color National Convening

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)
130 West 30th Street
New York, New York 10001
2016-05-01 Through 2016-05-03

Recent events have moved the struggle for racial justice and inclusion in America to the forefront of public consciousness. Jews of Color occupy a unique space within that struggle, living at the intersection of multiple communities and identities. We come together this spring as Jews and as People of Color to celebrate our diversity and build our strength as a community. We want to build a world in which our Jewishness thrives; a world where we are valued as leaders within the Jewish community; a world where our identities as People of Color are supported by Jewish communities committed to the fight against racism.

The convening will include music and art, content for families and children,, community building, and workshops, trainings and other sessions on building our power to fight for ourselves and our communities.

About the Presenting Sponsors:

This event is presented and sponsored by the Jewish Multiracial Network and Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) It is co-sponsored by Bend The Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and supported by The Ford Foundation

For more information, click here.

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I’m the new NUS president – and no, I’m not an antisemitic Isis sympathiser

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom on 2016-04-25 02:21Z by Steven

I’m the new NUS president – and no, I’m not an antisemitic Isis sympathiser

The Guardian
2016-04-24

Malia Bouattia


‘Some may not agree with my politics and ideologies, but I do believe the student movement has a shared goal.’ Photograph: Vicky Design/NUS website

The accusations being directed at me this week are deeply troubling and false. I want to focus on liberating education and opportunity for all

This week I became the first black woman to be elected president of the National Union of Students, and the first Muslim who will hold this position too. But instead of celebrating and publicising this incredible landmark, the media coverage has been cluttered with stories calling me a racist, an antisemite, an Islamic State sympathiser and more.

The truth is, as those who know me well understand, I’ve always been a strong campaigner against racism and fascism in all its forms. And I’d like to set a few things straight.

Specifically, on the claims that I refused to condemn Isis: two years ago I delayed a National Executive Council motion condemning Isis – but that was because of its wording, not because of its intent. Its language appeared to condemn all Muslims, not just the terror group. Once it was worded correctly I proposed and wholly supported the motion.

Yet newspaper reports this week still depict me as a young Muslim who supports Isis. This is simply not true…

Read the entire article here.

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Malia Bouattia’s election as NUS president proves deeply divisive

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom on 2016-04-25 02:08Z by Steven

Malia Bouattia’s election as NUS president proves deeply divisive

The Guardian
2016-04-22

Jessica Elgot


At the NUS conference, Bouattia won on the first round. Photograph: NUS/PA

Jewish student groups alarmed by her election, but the first black Muslim woman in the role has nerves of steel, and young activists love her for that

It is rare that the election of a student union president merits the flurry of headlines that greeted Malia Bouattia. But her election, as the first black Muslim woman to hold the office, has been one of the most divisive moments in the National Union of Students’ recent history.

Bouattia’s supporters hail it as a powerful victory for diversity and radical politics; her critics lament her election as a disturbing choice that could lead to an irreconcilable schism between the union and mainstream student opinion.

Jewish students’ groups say they are particularly alarmed. Bouattia, 28, has been filmed decrying the influence of the “Zionist-led media”, described her university “Zionist outpost” in a paragraph mentioning the university’s large Jewish society, and spoke at a meeting advertised using a poster featuring Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.

But at this week’s NUS conference, Bouattia was overwhelmingly popular choice, winning on the first round by more than 50 delegate votes and unseating the incumbent, Megan Dunn, an extremely rare occurrence…

Read the entire article here.

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Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-04-24 00:38Z by Steven

Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians

University of North Carolina Press
September 2015
270 pages
8 halftones, 1 map, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4696-2443-3

Angela Pulley Hudson, Associate Professor of History
Texas A&M University

In the mid-1840s, Warner McCary, an ex-slave from Mississippi, claimed a new identity for himself, traveling around the nation as Choctaw performer “Okah Tubbee.” He soon married Lucy Stanton, a divorced white Mormon woman from New York, who likewise claimed to be an Indian and used the name “Laah Ceil.” Together, they embarked on an astounding, sometimes scandalous journey across the United States and Canada, performing as American Indians for sectarian worshippers, theater audiences, and patent medicine seekers. Along the way, they used widespread notions of “Indianness” to disguise their backgrounds, justify their marriage, and make a living. In doing so, they reflected and shaped popular ideas about what it meant to be an American Indian in the mid-nineteenth century.

Weaving together histories of slavery, Mormonism, popular culture, and American medicine, Angela Pulley Hudson offers a fascinating tale of ingenuity, imposture, and identity. While illuminating the complex relationship between race, religion, and gender in nineteenth-century North America, Hudson reveals how the idea of the “Indian” influenced many of the era’s social movements. Through the remarkable lives of Tubbee and Ceil, Hudson uncovers both the complex and fluid nature of antebellum identities and the place of “Indianness” at the very heart of American culture.

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Synagogues Need to Welcome and Celebrate Jewish Diversity

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-01 20:16Z by Steven

Synagogues Need to Welcome and Celebrate Jewish Diversity

Tablet
2016-03-31

MaNishtana

MaNishtana is the psuedonym of Shais Rishon, an Orthodox African-American Jewish blogger, editor-at-large at JN Magazine, and author of Thoughts From A Unicorn and Fine, thanks. How are YOU, Jewish? Follow him on Twitter @MaNishtana.

Thoughts on the importance of the updated list of ‘Welcoming & Diverse Synagogues’ curated by Shirley Gindler-Price, the former president of the Jewish Multiracial Network

This week, Shirley Gindler-Price, the former president of the Jewish Multiracial Network, released an updated compilation of temples and synagogues across the denominational spectrum considered to be welcoming of Jews of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, and have diverse membership in their pews. Gindler-Price, who is also founder of the Black German Cultural Society, first published the “Welcoming & Diverse Synagogues” list while with JMN, and she has continued to do so because, as the post says, “every Jew needs to feel connected and every Jew needs to feel at home.” And amen to that.

The Welcoming & Diverse Synagogues list continues to be of the utmost importance by virtue of the fact that there is very real need for prayer spaces for Jews of Color who want to be Jewishly and religiously active and present, but don’t want the outright prejudices or inadvertent microaggressions that may come along with it (Judaism, as I write about constantly, is unfortunately no stranger to racial insensitivities.)…

Read the entire article here.

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On Jerusalem Walls, Artist Memorializes Hebrew Israelite Rabbi from Harlem

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-01 00:56Z by Steven

On Jerusalem Walls, Artist Memorializes Hebrew Israelite Rabbi from Harlem

The Assimilator: Intermarrying high and low culture
Forward
2016-03-31

Sam Kestenbaum, Staff Writer


Wikicommons / Solomon Souza / YouTube

When Rabbi Mordecai Herman would visit the Lower East Side of the 1920s, then teeming with Jewish immigrants from Europe, he cut an intriguing figure.

He was a wizened black rabbi and former sailor from Harlem who spoke Hebrew, some Yiddish, and was a pioneering spiritual leader of the early black Hebrew Israelite movement.

Now, nearly a century after his life’s work, Herman has been memorialized on the streets of Jerusalem — a Jewish homecoming for a forgotten religious figure.

This is thanks to Solomon Souza, an Israeli artist who has transformed Jerusalem’s central Mehane Yehudah market into a pop-up art gallery, emblazoning the enclosed market’s shuttered metal doors with over 150 graffiti portraits of iconic figures like Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the biblical prophet Moses

Read the entire article here.

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Jackie Kay the new Scots Makar, Shaping the Body

Posted in Arts, Audio, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-03-26 23:17Z by Steven

Jackie Kay the new Scots Makar, Shaping the Body

Woman’s Hour
BBC Radio 4
2016-03-25

The acclaimed writer Jackie Kay has just been announced as the next Scots MakarScotland’s national poet. She tells Jenni about the plans she has for her new role.

Today a new exhibition examining how food, fashion and lifestyle have shaped women’s bodies and lives opens at York Castle Museum. The curator Ali Bodley and fashion historian Lucy Adlington join Jenni to talk about 400 years of squeezing and binding. And, how the current vogue for big bottoms and padded underwear echoes the false rumps of the past.

Mary Magdalene – what do we know about the woman who was described as the constant companion of Jesus, who wept at the foot of the Cross, and who gave the first account of the empty tomb? What is it about her story that continues to fascinate and what evidence is there that she was a prostitute or even the wife of Jesus? Michael Haag author of The Quest for Mary Magdalene speaks to Jenni.

Penrose Halson author of “Marriages are Made In Bond Street” traces the history of one of Britain’s most successful marriage bureaux founded by two twenty-four year olds in the Spring of 1939. Penrose eventually became the proprietor and she tells Jenni about the remarkable cross-section of British society in the 1940’s who found partners through this tiny London office.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-03-23 19:12Z by Steven

JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

University of Nebraska Press
July 2016
192 pages
6 tables, 1 appendix
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8565-1

Helen Kiyong Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Noah Samuel Leavitt, Associate Dean of Students
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

In 2010 approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children.

JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt’s book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kim and Leavitt’s research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the twenty-first century.

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