Racial Justice and Inclusion
Embracing racial and ethnic diversity in our synagogues and developing skills for racial justice.
Jews were spread to the four corners of the Earth. We look like everyone from everywhere, yet a majority of American Jewry doesn’t realize that by some estimates, 1 out of every 5 Jews is a Person of Color. JOCISM (Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, Mizrachi) have unique experiences in Jewish community settings, synagogue included. This page serves as an ever-evolving resource center from United Synagogue to our member synagogues, so that synagogue leadership can support the Jews of Color in their midst and learn about racial justice efforts from a Conservative Jewish perspective, and so that JOCISM can find affinity space hosted within the Conservative Movement.
USCJ supports Conservative/Masorti JOCISM with affinity space and guides our synagogue communities in their endeavors to learn more. Due to the delicate and ever-evolving nature of racial dialogue, this page serves as an introductory resource.
Resources for your own learning in Racial Justice and Inclusion
Judaism is transmitted through storytelling. We repeat the same stories at the same time, year after year. And yet, we seek different ways of telling and hearing these stories. We look to have differing perspectives, new conversations, and to look for multifaceted approaches to the stories we tell and hear. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shares with us the importance of acknowledging the “single stories” in our lives. This TED Talk serves as a reminder of the danger of assumptions and single stories, and helps listeners regain otherwise lost opportunities in inclusion, connection, and community building.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
How does discrimination become ingrained so quickly? Internationally known teacher, lecturer, diversity trainer first conducted this experimental lesson with third grade students the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was assassinated. Discrimination and prejudice come in many forms, and this short video will open your eyes–blue, brown, hazel, or grey–to the ease with which we can learn to misattribute morals, values, and belonging to physical features or incidental group membership.
Jane Elliott “Blue Eyes - Brown Eyes” Experiment Anti-Racism
Jew of Color founded or run organizations
- Jewish Multiracial Network
- The Jewish Multiracial Network brings together Jews of Color and Jewish multiracial families and individuals to learn about and celebrate their Judaism. JMN is committed to diversity and inclusive community-building, and seeks to help their members strengthen their identities as Jews and members of other ethnic groups.
- Jews in ALL Hues (founded by a Conservative Jew of Color)
- JIAH is one of the only independent Jewish social justice organizations in existence founded by a biracial, multi-heritage, Jew of Color millennial. Thefounder, Jared Jackson, is an internationally renowned Jewish diversity leader, consultant, and deeply committed to both his faith and his heritages. From their genesis, JIAH has been in service of social justice and equity.
- Atlanta Jews of Color Council (co-founded by Conservative Jews of Color)
- AJOCC regards racial equity as the defining issue of our time. As a nonprofit model of excellence, AJOCC honors their constituents’ Jewish heritage by bringing awareness about the multiplicity of Jewish identities and who we are collectively as a people. Cultivating cultural competence empowers people to be extremely intentional about inclusion. Their approach is focused on justice, solidarity, and centering the most vulnerable.
- Jews of Color Initiative
- The Jews of Color Initiative works to build a truly multiracial, anti-racist Jewish community in which Jews of Color can experience joy and reach their full potential and belonging as leaders and community members. To do so requires creating structural and communal support for Jews of Color and expanding the field of knowledge about our community.
- Jewtina y Co.
- Jewtina y Co. is a Jewish and Latin organization on a mission to nurture Latin-Jewish community, identity, leadership and resiliency, and celebrate Latin-Jewish heritage and multiculturalism.
- This organization develops Midwest JOC (Jew of Color) leaders while also helping Jewish community organizations to serve a more diverse constituency.
- MochaJuden hosts a Welcoming & Diverse Synagogues list and how-to and shares a plethora of resources about and for Jews of Color. This site is curated by a biracial German and Black Jewish woman.
- Multiracial Jewish Association of Minnesota (founded by a Conservative Jew of Color)
- The MJAM mission is to support, uplift and advocate for the multiracial Jewish community of Minnesota, including black, indigenous, Asian, Latinx, Sephardi, Mizrachi, and multiracial or interracial families who identify as Jewish. As an organization, they serve to build connections across racial identities and within the broader Jewish community in Minnesota, advocate for the collective place and purpose of JOCISM & their families, and educate organizations, leaders, and allies in how to better support this unique community as part of the collective Jewish identity.
- Mitsui Collective
- Mitsui Collective builds resilient community through embodied Jewish practice and somatic antiracism.
- Lunar Collective
- The LUNAR Collective cultivates connection, belonging and visibility for Asian American Jews through intersectional community programming and authentic digital storytelling.
- Be’chol Lashon
- Be’chol Lashon (Hebrew for “in every language”) strengthens Jewish identity by raising awareness about the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience. Be’chol Lashon brings the historic Jewish commitment to civil rights and racial justice forward into the 21st century. Be’chol Lashon regards embracing the historical diversity of the Jewish people and, more importantly, the growing diversity of the community today as the most important step toward securing relevancy in an exciting American future.
- The Multitudes (founded by a Conservative Jew of Color)
- The Multitudes supports Jewish community spaces on their journey towards a higher level of race consciousness
Books for Jew of Color Inclusion
Jewish Multiracial Network has compiled a list of books for adults and children reflecting diversity in Jewish spaces. Use this page as a resource, and email them books you know of that have helped you!