Jews have always resembled the peoples among whom they live, whether in Africa, Asia, or Europe. Why should American Jews be an exception? In a land where racial and ethnic boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred, the American Jewish community is also shifting. In Every Tongue is both a groundbreaking look at the changing faces of the Jewish people and an examination of the timelessness of those changes. Ranging from distinct communities of African American Jews and adopted children of color in white Jewish families to the growing number of religious seekers of all races who hope to find a home in Judaism, In Every Tongue explores the origins, traditions, challenges, and joys of diverse Jews in America.
This book explodes the myth of a single authentic Judaism and shines a bright light on the thousands of ethnically and racially diverse Jews in the United States who live full and rich Jewish lives. It is impossible to read In Every Tongue without coming away with a deeper respect for and a broader understanding of the Jewish people today. In a time when Jewish community leaders decry the shrinking of the Jewish population, In Every Tongue imagines a vibrant and daring future for the Jewish people: becoming who they have always been.
"The who-is-a-Jew question should be replaced by a discussion of the rich multi-dimensional character of the Jewish people. Attempts to narrowly define who is a Jew from a historical, halakhic, or genetic perspective should not distract from what as Jews-white, black, or brown, or any color-unites us: the central concern for the great revelation on Mount Sinai from which our common values ensue. We are one people. Let us be proud of our unity through the beauty of our diversity."
Ephraim Isaac, Ph.D., Institute of Semitic Studies, Princeton, New Jersey
"In Every Tongue is an explosive piece of research. It suggests that the Jews are a global people whose boundaries transcend geography, ethnicity, class, race, and even specific religious practices or philosophy. It opens up new ways of conceptualizing peoplehood, community, and identity."
Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino
"In Every Tongue puts an end to any pretense of there being monolithic images of Jews and Judaism."
Davi Cheng, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Los Angeles
"In Every Tongue has critical policy implications in myriad areas, including communal governance; definitions of Jewish citizenship; distribution of economic, political, human, and intellectual resources; Jewish education; definitions of Jewish practice; conversion; leadership education; and community relations. In Every Tongue needs to be studied, wrestled with, built upon, and integrated in the public policy thinking of the organized Jewish community. The future of the Jewish people depends on it."
Rabbi Irwin Kula, CLAL, New York
"In Every Tongue is the first substantive research that demonstrates the significant diversity of contemporary Jewish individual and group identities and explores the deep pathologies, fears, and anxieties that inhibit the full potential of the Jewish people."
Rabbi Rigoberto Emmanuel Viņas, Lincoln Park Jewish Center / El Centro, New York