Vision: A Global Jewish People
Imagine a new global Judaism that transcends differences in geography, ethnicity, class, race, ritual practice, and beliefs. Discussions about “who-is-a-real-Jew” will be replaced with celebration of the rich, multi-dimensional character of the Jewish people.
Jews around the world face serious demographic challenges. Worldwide, the number of Jews is stagnant. Decimated by the Holocaust, Jews now comprise only 0.2% of the world's people. We believe the Jewish population, through pro-active efforts, could grow to 20 million by 2020, and 40 million by 2060.
We seek to overcome the significant organizational, cultural and ideological barriers to growth in the Jewish community. A more expansive Judaism is particularly engaging for younger and unaffiliated Jews who want Judaism to reflect the global community in which they live.
Be'chol Lashon (In Every Tongue) grows and strengthens the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness. We advocate for the diversity that has characterized the Jewish people throughout history, and through contemporary forces including intermarriage, conversion and adoption. We foster an expanding Jewish community that embraces its differences.
Be'chol Lashon Goals
We strive to:
- Build networks of global Jewish leaders
- Strengthen diverse Jewish communities around the world
- Educate Jews and the general public about Jewish diversity
- Increase the Jewish population by encouraging those who would like to be part of the Jewish people
Be'chol Lashon is a research and community building initiative of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in San Francisco with staff, programs and community partners throughout the world. Be'chol Lashon serves as a central clearinghouse for ideas, programs, and organizational collaboration.
Diane Tobin, mother of an adopted African-American son, leads Be'chol Lashon's professional team of culturally sensitive, committed staff. Mrs. Tobin's leadership philosophy is to identify, recruit, and support a team of racially and ethnically diverse Jewish leaders from all over the world: the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Be'chol Lashon engages the “best and brightest” as senior research associates, research fellows, scholars, philanthropists, and volunteers. Be'chol Lashon works with diverse Jewish leaders to help define and achieve their community goals. Be'chol Lashon provides fellowships to train rabbis, scholars and community leaders.
Strategies: Research, Community-Building, & Education
Research is the cornerstone of all aspects of Be'chol Lashon. Personal interviews, surveys, focus groups, and ongoing evaluations of programming reveal the evolving needs of Jews around the world.
Be'chol Lashon has created an ideological, organizational, and programmatic framework for meeting the needs of a growing ethnically and racially diverse Jewish population. Existing programs and institutions do not meet many of the needs of diverse Jews.
Be'chol Lashon creates networks and builds partnerships through ongoing consultations, workshops, conferences, and the creation of model programs at the local level. Be'chol Lashon also provides feasibility research, planning, and technical assistance to help communities achieve the goals they set.
Programmatic needs of diverse Jews are as varied as the backgrounds of the people themselves. There is no singular group with a singular set of needs. Our goal is to create models of dynamic community building that can be replicated in other communities and organizations.
Be'chol Lashon informs both the Jewish and general public about the diversity of the Jewish people. Be'chol Lashon has created a multi-pronged educational effort that includes books, articles, newsletters, speakers, events, music, film, and curricula.
The website is an online resource that provides information about the culture and customs of Jewish communities around the world. The website provides supplemental materials for educators and teachers.