Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: January 2009

ZrubavelBe'chol Lashon invites you to the Opening Night of ZRUBAVEL
Thursday, February 5, 7pm
NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival
15 West 16th Street (5th & 6th Ave)

Special Be'chol Lashon discount: $18 (regular $35)

Itzhak, an Ethiopian immigrant in Israel, soon to be a bar mitzvah, dreams of becoming the Spike Lee of Israel and films a documentary about the neighborhood's residents. Read on...

Screening followed by a Q&A with the director, brief musical performance and reception
To purchase tickets: Click here to pay via Paypal - Special Be'chol Lashon discount: $18
For more information: Email Lacey or call 212-217-0178

The Black Jews of Africa: The Challenge of Jewish Diversity
GordonWednesday, February 18, 7pm

The JCC in Manhattan Samuel Priest Rose Building
334 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

$10 member, $15 non-member

Dr. Lewis Gordon, philosophy and Judaic studies professor at Temple University, founder and co-director of Temple's Center for Afro-Jewish Studies, whose own ancestry reflects Jewish diversity (19th century immigrants from Jerusalem, Egypt, and Ireland on his mother's side) will explore the various contemporary examples of Jewish identity in Africa. Read on...

To register, call 646-505-5708 or click here
Be'chol Lashon reception with Dr. Lewis Gordon and filmmaker Avishai Mekonen immediately following the lecture.

Under the Same Tent: Racially and Ethnically Diverse Jews
Groups forming in February
Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services
120 West 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Aves

Racially and ethnically diverse Jews, are you interested in meeting others, talking together about common experiences and struggles and building a broader community? Groups now forming for: Young adults, Parents, and Interracial Couples. Co-led by professional and community facilitators. Read on...

Call: 212-399-2685, ext 219 or Email Judy

Community education programs in partnership with JBFCS, Be’chol Lashon and The JCC in Manhattan.

BrozaSpanish, Hebrew and English Songs by David Broza

Sunday February 22, 3pm
Flint Center: 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA

Tickets: $50. Call 408-998-TIXS

To hear David Broza's music is to be moved. To see Broza in concert is to be mesmerized. David Broza transcends national and artistic boundaries by singing in English, Hebrew, and Spanish. With his flamenco-tinged, folk-rock melodies and keen talent for breathing musical life into snippets of poetry, Broza commands and captivates his audience's heart, mind and soul. Read on...

PurimPurim: Unmasked! An Off-Street Purim Fair
Sunday, March 8, 3 - 5pm

JCCSF, 3200 California Street
San Francisco

Free and Open to the Public!

Be’chol Lashon and the JCCSF co-host a family Purim Festival celebrating the diversity of the Bay Area with costumes, food, games, and holiday traditions from around the world including belly dancing, tarot & palm readings, capoeira/ Brazilian martial arts and more! Although a Jewish holiday, the Purim themes of courage and triumph are universal.

Save the Date! More information to come soon!


Israeli Circumcision Experience Helps Fight AIDS in Africa

By Dina Kraft, November 10, 2008,

In a clinic in the hills of Swaziland’s capital, Israeli doctors have been training their counterparts in male circumcision, hoping expertise in the ancient technique will help in the battle against the modern scourge of AIDS.

Read on...

LauderWorld Jewish Congress Welcomed Commitment by Latin American Leaders

By, December 18, 2008, PRNewswire-USNewswire

The presidents of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, and the Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC), Jack Terpins, have both welcomed the signing of a joint declaration by the presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela this week at a summit in Costa Sauipe (Brazil). In it, Presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Hugo Chavez Frias unequivocally condemn "discrimination and religious intolerance, in particular, anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism" Read on...

Abdoulaye WadeRabbis, Imams Launch Paris Summit

By JTA Staff, December 16, 2008,

Senegal's president said at an interreligious summit that rabbis and imams have the "duty" to "calm frustrations where politics stop." Abdoulaye Wade is presiding over the third World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace's summit on interreligious dialogue and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which opened here Monday at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Chief rabbis from Israel and imams from the Palestinian Authority are among the more than 85 religious dignitaries from over 21 countries attending the three-day event. Read on...


A Day Bright With Sunshine

By Julius Lester, January 21, 2009,

The tears in my eyes were there not only because there is now a president whose skin color is the same as mine, but also in gratitude for the generational transformation in this country. At long last, a majority of people believe that blacks have a place in our common humanity.

Read on...

Changing FacesThe Changing Faces of Judaism

By Steven G. Vegh, December 21, 2008, The Virginian-Pilot

In the 1960s, Marcia Brodie grew up in a Norfolk synagogue where just about everyone was like her: white, with European Jewish roots. Forty years later, Brodie is still at Temple Israel. But this Hanukkah season when she views her congregation, Brodie can see African Americans, Filipino Americans and other Asians - including her own perky 4-year-old, Jemma. Brodie and Steve, her husband, adopted the little girl in China in 2005. Read on...

TempleTemple Welcomes Diversity

By Rebecca Beno, December 20, 2008, The Virginian-Pilot

Temple Sholom, a Reform Jewish synagogue, built in Galesburg, IL, in 1958, was once a place of worship mostly for business owners of the city. Today, as Dec. 21 marks this year’s first of the eight nights of Hanukkah, the temple itself has changed. It is now a community that is both diverse and tightly knit.

“When you think about Judaism, you think white,” Walters said. “But being Jewish, being black and being involved is better in a smaller area. People seem to be more willing to accept you.” Read on...


OyLetter From Italy: Spark in the Bottom of the Boot

By Andree Aelion Brooks, December, 2008, Hadassah Magazine

As a small boy growing up in the mountaintop village of Serrastretta in the Calabria regilon of southern Italy, Enrico Mascaro remembers how his grandmother would never allow a crucifix or an image of the Madonna in the house. Instead, “she would say, ‘This is not our tradition,’” he recalled, “which seemed very strange to us.” Later, while searching local genealogical records, he discovered that the name Mascaro did not ap­pear in Italy until the 1500s - though it had been prevalent in Spain centuries earlier. Read on..

Things Fall ApartMarking a Rabbiís Death in Tunis

By Lisa Hostein, December 17, 2008,

According to the legend, Rabbi Hai Taieb lived a pious life from approximately the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century, spending all of his time studying Torah, writing commentaries and influencing miracles. All his work was produced in one room, which his wife was not permitted to enter. When she snuck in one day when he wasn't home, she was so shocked by the accumulated papers and chaos, she proceeded to burn everything. Upon seeing the loss of all his work, he took to drinking boukha, the Tunisian fig liquer that is often used today as a substitute for Kiddush wine. He drank and drank until his death, continuing to offer his wisdom to Tunisian Jews. Read on...

WeddingAgainst Backdrop of Mumbai Terror, India's Oldest Jewish Community to Celebrate First Wedding in 21 years

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies, November 12, 2008, Haaretz

The oldest Jewish community in India is poised to celebrate its first wedding in over 20 years, The Times of India reported recently. The Kochi community in the southern state of Kerela - a once flourishing group now comprising only 48 members - will see the union of Shelomo and Susan on December 28 at the 400-year-old Dutch Cochin-Jewish synagogue in Jew Town in Mattancherry. Read on...


Am I Now American? A Conversation with Siona Benjamin

By Samuel Thrope , December 2008, Habitus: a Diaspora Journal

Born in Bombay to a family of Bene Israel Jews, Benjamin was educated in Catholic and Zoroastrian schools and earned her degree in Fine Arts before immigrating to America almost twenty years ago. “The feeling I have of never being able to set deep roots no matter where I am is unnerving,” writes Benjamin, “but on the other hand, there is something seductive about the spiritual borderland in which I seem to find myself." Read on...


Book Review: Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames

By Myer Samra, Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, volume XXI, 2007

Dicionario Setaradi de Sobrenomes / Dictionary ot Sephardic Surnames by Guilherme Faiguenboim, Paulo Valdares and Anna Rosa Campagnano

This is a beautifully presented reference work. With its many outstanding illustrations, its quarto format and the fact that one can dip into it to look up a particular surname of interest, it can also take pride of place on any coffee table. Read on...


Book Review: Unearthing Jewish Legacy in Jamaica

By Alfred Sangster, December 21, 2008, Jamaica Gleaner

The Knell of Parting Day- A History of the Jews of Port Royal and The Hunts Bay Cemetery by Marilyn Delevante

The title is appropriate for the book, for it digs deep into the past and brings to light the story of those of the Jewish faith who passed on many centuries ago, but who are now remembered.

The search and restoration of heritage and historical sites is more often, not only a labour of love, but also one that often brings pain at the memories that emerge from that search. In this case it is a personal and loving search for ancestors from a distant past. Read on...


Seattle: Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim
AryehLeavitt and Kim Embark on Study of Jewish-Asian Families in America

By Brenna McBride, January, 2009,

Throughout 2009, Leavitt and Kim will use survey responses as a springboard for conducting more in-depth interviews with selected couples. Eventually, they hope to publish their findings as an academic book. Read on...

To learn more about the study or participate, click here.

Chicago: Rabbi Capers Funnye
Rabbi Funnye
A Portrait of Change: Nationís Many Faces in Extended First Family
By Jodi Kantor, January 21, 2009, NY Times

Diversity inside families, said Michael J. Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford University, is “the most interesting kind of diversity there is, because it brings people together cheek by jowl in a way that they never were before." Read on....

New York: Lacey Schwartz Lacey
Life Through a Lens
By Rahel Musleah, December 2008,

Lacey Schwartz, 31, also places personal conflict front and center. Outside the Box, still in production, documents her attempt to confront her dual black and Jewish identities—and that of 400,000 black Jews in America. It opens with a series of stark statements: “Lacey Schwartz’s high school friends never asked why her parents were white. Neither did she. On her college application she had to state her race by checking a box. Unable to answer the question, she attached a picture instead.” Georgetown University enrolled her as a black student, which eventually blew the lid off the family secret: Her biological father was black. The revelation changed her life. Read on...

For information about upcoming Be'chol Lashon events in New York, click here.

Los Angeles: Davi Cheng

Davi Cheng  comic

LisaL.A.'s Top Ten Mensches: Our fourth-annual salute to big-hearted Angelenos
By Julie Gruenbaum Fax, December 31, 2008, LA Jewish Journal

"Rabbi Lisa Edwards [of Beth Chayim Chadashim] started to talk to me, saying that life is not about doing, it's about being," Yael recalls. "I had internalized that identity and self-worth are about what we do, especially about what we do for a living, and that wasn't there anymore. I had to develop some sort of identity and find meaning in my life that wasn't connected to what I do." Read on...


We welcome your participation in the Be’chol Lashon Newsletter!

Please send us information about events in your community or articles of interest that relate to Jewish diversity. E-mail newsletter submissions to Esther Fishman, Submissions are subject to editing for content, clarity and style.

Special thanks to all the contributors who make the newsletter interesting and informative.

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