Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: February 2009

GroupsRacially and Ethnically Diverse Jews: Groups now forming
Young Adults Group, March 4. Pre-registration required

Are you interested in meeting others, talking together about common experiences and building community? Groups now forming for: Young adults, Parents, and Interracial Couples. Co-led by professional and community facilitators. Read on...

Call Judith Levitan, LCSW: 212-399-2685, ext 219 or Email for dates and location, or Lacey Schwartz, 212-217-0178

Community education programs in partnership with Jewish Bureau of Family and Children Services, Be’chol Lashon and The JCC Manhattan.

ZrubavelJews in the Cradle of India, sponsored by Indian Jewish Congregation of USA
Sunday, March 15, 2pm
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place, NY

$10, $7 students/seniors, $5 members

Panelists: Romiel Daniel, the Indian Jewish Congregation of USA; Nathan Katz, Who Are the Jews of India?; Rahel Musleah, journalist; and Rabbi Yehuda Krusky, Chabad-Lubavitch Movement.

India, a country that values religious and ethnic diversity, has long been home to three Jewish communities and has remained largely free of anti-Semitism. Journey to Jewish Kolkata, Mumbai, and Kochi, and find out how the recent attacks in Mumbai are affecting that small but thriving community.

Preceeded by a free screening at 1pm of In Search of the Bene Israel (Directed by Sadia Shepard). Buy your ticket here.


Celebrate Purim with Diversity & Hilarity

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 6pm
Beth Chayim Chadashim
6000 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles

Free Family Event

Hear the Megillah read in multiple languages, representing our multicultural & diverse Jewish world. Mask making, puppet show, skits and more!

Light refreshments and hamantachen. Click here for the flyer.


Purim: 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.

Click here for the flyer


NEW Camp Be'chol Lashon

June 21-28 - week long sleepaway camp

Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma

WELCOME TO ALL...children of racially and ethnically diverse families...and those who want to be part of a global Jewish community.

Join us for arts, dance, music, ropes course, teambuilding, sports, swimming, leadership development, eco-Judaism and more!

Click here for more information.


Hebrew Charter School to Open in NYC Next Fall

By Newsday Staff Writer, February 1, 2009,

The south Brooklyn neighborhood of Mill Basin is a racially diverse mix, with immigrants from Asia, a number of Spanish-speaking countries and the former Soviet Union. Backers of a new charter school specializing in Hebrew set to open there in the fall say all of those ethnic and religious groups will be attracted to the academic institution, not just Jews. Read on...

ChavezHate crimes against Jews rise in Venezuela

By Fabiola Sanchez, February 7, 2009, Associated Press,

As President Hugo Chavez intensifies his anti-Israel campaign, some Venezuelans have taken action, threatening Jews in the street and vandalizing the largest synagogue in Caracas - where they stole a database of names and addresses. Now many in Venezuela's Jewish community fear the worst is yet to come. Read on...

YemenSpecial Operation Brings 10 New Immigrants from Yemen to Israel

By Staff, February 19, 2009, Jewish Agency for Israel

The most dramatic moments in Jewish history have once again taken place in Ben Gurion airport minutes ago: 10 Jews from Yemen landed in Israel as part of a Jewish Agency special rescue and aliyah operation. It's a moment that captures who we are as a people, who we are as the Jewish State, and who we are as the Jewish Agency. Read on...


Maya Escobar: Who I Am

By PJ Edelman, February 2009,

Maya is pretty unique as a half Guatemalan, half-Jewish St. Louis resident. Born in Urbana, IL, Maya and her Guatemalan father and Jewish mother moved to Chicago’s West Rogers Park when she was 3 years old. Her family was one of the very few non-Orthodox families on the block. Read on...

Jewtinos“Jewtinos” Get their own Clothing Line

By Maegan La Mala, December 2008,
*Read spanish version here

“Jewtinos”, people of Latino and Jewish origin, aren’t a huge demographic for marketers, and therefore the door is left wide open for those looking to cater to customers wanting specialized products that represent this ethnicity and/or faith combination. Enter Adriana Lopez, founder of the new clothing line Jewtina, who is making clothes that reflect Latino Jewish culture. Read on...

Alan LewMay His Memory Be a Blessing: Rabbi Alan Lew

By JTA Staff, January 13, 2009, JTA Staff

Rabbi Alan Lew, who was known for his efforts to bridge Judaism and Buddhist teachings, died unexpectedly. Lew was the author of “One God Clapping: The Spiritual Path of a Zen Rabbi.” Before joining the Conservative rabbinate he spent 10 years studying Zen Buddhism, and later pioneered the use of meditation to enhance Jewish spirituality.

The rabbi also was a social justice activist who protested executions at San Quentin penitentiary and argued for the homeless and poor at City Hall, according to Rabbi Micah Hyman, the current spiritual leader at Beth Sholom. Read on...

DharmaBook Review: Jewish Dharma - A Guide to the Practice of Judaism and Zen by Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D

By Lynda Lippin, February 10, 2009,

While many Jews who have this kind of epiphany go on to study more Buddhism, I was much more comfortable going the other way and learning more about Jewish mysticism, Jewish meditation, and the spiritual practice of Judaism. I found a wonderful rabbi, a wonderful synagogue, and just kept on reading every book that came out on the topic (and the in the '90s there were a lot!). Read on...


John RabeMovie About China's Schindler Tells Story of Unlikely German Hero

By DPA Staff, February 9, 2009, DW-World.De

The movie shows how Rabe helped Chinese civilians escape the horrors of what is known as the rape of Nanking by helping set up and take over the running of a special security zone. But it also shows that Rabe ran into opposition...among them American physician Robert Wilson, played by actor Steve Buscemi. Read on..

SadiaGoing home again, to Jewish Bombay

By Allison Hoffman, February 11, 2009, Jerusalem Post

As a small child growing up outside Boston, filmmaker Sadia Shepard felt torn between two cultures: the WASP Episcopalianism of her father's family in Colorado and the more exotic Muslim traditions her Pakistani mother had grown up with in Karachi. Read on...

Fire Within

Hidden Roots in the Jungle
A new film spotlights a far-flung group seeking connection with the mainstream

By Robin Cembalest, January 7, 2009, Nextbook

Around a century ago, Abraham Edery Fimat, a Sephardic sailor from Morocco... arrived in the remote Peruvian city of Iquitos. To his amazement, Edery found other Jews there. They were merchants, traders, and adventurers, Sephardic as well as Ashkenazic, from Morocco and Europe, who came to make their fortunes in the rubber boom. The rise and fall and rise of the Jews of Iquitos is certainly an inspirational example of the resilience of Jewish identity in unlikely circumstances. Read on...


Black History Month, Jewish Style

The Book of Life, February 1, 2009
ReturnSonia Levitin, author of over 40 books for children and teens, has turned her award-winning 1987 novel The Return into a a musical stage play. RETURN chronicles an Ethiopian Jewish girl's walk to freedom in Israel via Operation Moses.

Watch clip here, learn more here.


GoodRichard Michelson was a May 2007 guest on The Book of Life, talking about his baseball-related story Across the Alley. Now he's won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award for his picture book, As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr & Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom, and we've brought him back to talk about this new title. We also have a repeat appearance by graphologist Arlyn Imberman. She analyzed author handwriting on our September 2008 episode, and returns to talk about the handwriting of King, Heschel, and Michelson.


Sing for Joy

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, the first black sub-Saharan rabbi, joins us to talk about the Abayudaya people of Uganda, his CD Sing for Joy, and Be'chol Lashon ("In Every Tongue"), an organization that supports the diversity of the Jewish people.

Buy your copy here.


Capers Funnye

Black and Jewish: Rabbi has roots in Georgetown

*Be'chol Lashon Associate Director, Rabbi Capers Funnye featured
By Idelle Kerzner, January 11, 2009,

In August 2002, Nigerians living all over the world from Ibo ancestry came to this sacred spot to honor these souls who could only find freedom in death. Amongst the clan of Nigerian brothers, stood Rabbi Capers Funnye from Georgetown. With a kippah, or head covering, upon his head, he offered prayers. Read on...


Families in Flux

*Be'chol Lashon cosponsored opening night at the NY Sephardic film festival. Thank you to all who attended Zrubavel. The event sold out and it was a great show of diversity and support!
By Allison Hoffman, February 9, 2009, Jerusalem Post

The New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival is using its 13th year to introduce a slate of films that explore how families knit themselves closer together...From the centerpiece feature about an Ethiopian clan shattered by the pressures of adapting to life in Israel to a series of documentaries about vanishing Jewish communities, the films highlight the strains faced by parents trying to pass on the traditions they once took for granted to children and grandchildren who see them as foreign. Read on...

Jamaica KincaidThe Estrangement

By Jamaica Kincaid, June 2008, AARP

Three years before my mother died, I decided not to speak to her again. And why? During a conversation over the telephone, she had once again let me know that my accomplishments—becoming a responsible and independent woman—did not amount to very much, that the life I lived was nothing more than a silly show, that she truly wished me dead. I didn’t disagree. I didn’t tell her that it would be just about the best thing in the world not to hear this from her. Read on...

NaalehCamp Naaleh
Summer 2009, dates vary
Located just north of Sidney, New York, near Binghamton

For several years, multiracial Jewish kids have been attending Camp Na'aleh -- a small, intimate camp atmosphere where every camper is special! Na'aleh is one of many camps that belong to a group called Habonim.  

Camp Na'aleh serves campers ages 8 to 16, grades 3 to 11. There are generous scholarships available (not limited to the needs-based) from the Foundation for Jewish Camp - ask us about them. Email Samantha for more information.


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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