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Celebrating Jewish Diversity Panel Questions

Celebrating our Jewish mixed multitude: Jewish diversity discussion

This event was moderated by community member Sarah Waisvisz featuring special guests Tema Smith and Sara Yacobi-Harris.

Sara Yacobi-Harris is the founder of No Silence on Race, a group of Jewish-Canadians committed to helping Jewish spaces become anti-racist, equitable, and inclusive. She is an artist, filmmaker, media professional and community organizer. Tema Smith is Director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly Interfaith Families) and a columnist at The Forward. She is a writer, diversity advocate, and community builder. We encourage you to check out their work!

We are bringing you the list of topics that our panelists explored in their discussion. We challenge you to use these questions and resources to expand your understanding of Jewish diversity and what erev rav/mixed multitude means to you as an individual. 

Introduction

Sarah says: "The theme for our whole day today was “Celebrating our Jewish Mixed Multitude.” This was important for me because our complexity and intersectionality is something we should all be proud of, and also I hate the categorization of “difference” and “other.” ALL OF US who are Jewish come from multiple, complex identities and different stories, places, histories. We are already a mixed multitude (“erev rav”) and always have been. For me, this is what Jewish Peoplehood is and can be. But it makes me sad that I have to fight for it."

  • How do you like to describe yourself?

  • Has it changed for you over time?

  • What are the words you like to use?

  • How do you like to express or live into your Jewishness?

  • What matters to you from our tradition?

Discussion Questions

Sarah says: "Vocabulary is important and words distill concepts for us; vocabulary can also be damaging or at times not “fit” well."

  • Are there terms that are current right now that you don’t like?

Sarah says: "I think a lot about the next generation and what our responsibility is to them."

  • What can we as adult members of Jewish communities do to help the children coming up to be proud of their intersectional identities?

  • What do you think differentiates our situation in Canada from that of our more vocal neighbours in the United States?

  •  If you could give one piece of advice to a community, what would it be?

Learning Resources

  • Be'chol Lashon is an advocacy group that works to strengthen Jewish identity by raising awareness about the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience. They provide a myriad of resources including diversity training workshops and multicultural camps for kids. 
  • Ammud: Jews of Color Torah Academy provides Jewish education for Jews of Colour by Jews of Colour.  Ammud allows Jewish people of color to access the Jewish education needed to be empowered members and leaders of the broader Jewish community. Classes are accessible anywhere through online participation!
  • No Silence on Race is a open letter from Black Jews, Jews of Colour and their allies to Jewish organizations in Canada about how to do better in regards to racial inequality. They have put together a rich compilation of multicultural resources for people to explore. 
  • Jewish Multicultural Network works to bring together Jews of Color and Jewish multiracial families and individuals to learn about and celebrate their Judaism. They offer training and workshops for Jewish organizations looking to become more purposefully inclusive and have put together book lists for both adults and children to explore. 
  • Jews of Colour Initiative is a US-wide effort focused on building and advancing the professional, organizational and communal field for Jews of Color through grantmaking, research and field building, and community education. They support Jews of Colour through philanthropic and capacity building grants. 
  • 18Doors (formally InterfaithFamily) is a mission dedicated to supporting interfaith couples and families by offering programming that empowers them to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices. They also offer professional development for Jewish organizations to encourage them to welcome interfaith families, and have a wealth of online resources for you to check out. 
  • The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is Canada's leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society. We recommend you read an article on Anti-Black Racism in Canada.
  • Tema Smith has written an article on "Why will this time be different than all other times?", an article on discussing racism that is also highly recommended reading. 
Thu, 2 December 2021