Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: April 2009
BLGroup: Jews from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds:
Wednesday, April 29, 7pm
Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services/ 120 West 57th Street Conference Room #601 Fee: $10
Please RSVP to Judy Levitan or call 212-399-2685 ext 219

Join us and a group of your peers for a discussion of Jewish texts that shed light on the issues of diversity within the Jewish community. The discussion will reflect on how these teaching have relevance for us and how they can guide us.

ShushAuthor Talk: Shush! Growing up Jewish Under Stalin

Sunday, May 10, 2009, 4 PM
Brooklyn Public Library
Central Library, Dweck Center (Eastern Parkway entrance)
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY

Emile Draitster grew up in the anti-Semitic, post-Holocaust Soviet Union, when "Shush!" was the most frequent word he heard: "Don't use your Jewish name in public. Don't speak a word of Yiddish. And don't cry over your murdered relatives." His compelling memoir conveys the reader back to Draitser's childhood and provides a unique account of midtwentieth-century life in Russia.Click here for a schedule of readings in New York and California

Rabbi SizomuAn Evening with the Rabbi of Uganda’s Abayudaya Jews
Thursday, May 14, 2009 from 7:00 pm
The JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St.
Tickets $20 Member/$25 Non-member

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, leader of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda, will discuss the unique history of his community and the role music played in their survival. After dictator Idi Amin Dada’s ban on Judaism in the 1970’s, many Abayudaya youth returned to Judaism through new inspiring melodies. Rabbi Sizomu, an accomplished musician and charismatic leader, is the first black rabbi from sub-Saharan Africa to be ordained at an American rabbinic school, and he is fulfilling his dream of strengthening African Judaism. Refreshments will be served. Read on...

In partnership with Be'chol Lashon and JCC Manhattan

SinaiWe were all at Sinai: Shavuot at the JCC Manhattan
Wed, May 28-29, 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM
The JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St.
For more information, 646.505.5708

Jews of all ages, colors, cultures; of all beliefs and practices; from all over the world and from all over New York - and we'll all be at the JCC to celebrate Shavuot, Jewish community and Jewish diversity starting at 10pm on May 28th until 5am on May 29th.  Read on...
PurimLatin@ Artists @ Uptown Body & Fender

May 1, 6-10pm
401 - 26th Street (Between Broadway & Telegraph)

Join 8 SF Bay Area Latin@ Artists as part of Oakland's Art Murmur on the First Friday night of May. Featuring acrylic and watercolor paintings, Latino folk art, Frida stuff, cards, magnets, henna painting and much more

Click here for the art walk map.

PurimThe Jews of Africa: A Roundtable Discussion
Tuesday, May 5, 8pm

JCCSF, 3200 California Street (@Presidio)
San Francisco

$15 JCC Members, $18 Public, $10 Students. Email for special Bechol Lashon discount.

With Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, Dr. Rabson Wuriga, and Dr. Rabbi Capers Funnye, facilitated by Dr. Lewis Gordon.

Jews are an amalgam of many peoples and Jewish origins include a multitude of languages, nations, tribes, and skin colors. Over the centuries, while Jews migrated north, east, and west, they also went south throughout Africa. Join us for a roundtable discussion on the beliefs, customs, and history of the various African communities.

A program of the Taube Center for Jewish Life and Be'chol Lashon.

GershomLate Shabbat at Temple Emanu El with Rabbi Sizomu
Friday, May 8, 6pm

Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco
San Francisco

This Friday night service is open to people in their 20s and 30s who want to connect with the Temple Emanu-El young-adult community. A festive Oneg follows the Late Shabbat Services which includes delicious food and beer! You do not have to be a member of the Congregation to attend.

CampNEW 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 the flyer

Funnye Obama's Rabbi
By Zev Chafets, April 5, 2009, The New York Times

Funnye hasn’t built all his bridges yet, let alone crossed them, but the progress he has seen — both as a black Jew and as a black American — has mellowed him. Read on...

TextbooksWhy Did You Opt For An International Adoption?
Talk of the Nation, April 7, 2009, NPR

Americans adopt thousands of children from other countries every year. The process can be tricky, and would-be adoptive parents often face the question "Why not adopt an American kid?" Listen Here

MorehouseBlack college launches joint Jewish program
By JTA Staff, April 3, 2009, JTA

The Rabin-King Initiative at Morehouse College in Atlanta draws on the legacies of the former Israeli prime minister and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It will sponsor joint black and Jewish community service projects, develop an oral history of black and Jewish student civil rights leaders, and establish an endowed professorship. Read on...

Avishai It's not easy being an Ethiopian Jew in America

By Natasha Mozgovaya, April 12, 2009,

When Avishai Mekonen, 35, an Israeli photographer who has lived for the past seven years in New York City, lectured before American high-school students in Savannah, GA, one of them asked him to roll up his sleeve. Read on...

Ashkefardic Love

By David Suissa, February 11, The Jewish Journal

...if you look around our community, you will see numerous examples of assimilation of a whole other kind — one that shines a more hopeful light on the Jewish future. This is the assimilation between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Read on...

ReturnMexican-American family returns to Jewish roots

By Ron Grossman, April 8, 2009, Chicago Tribune

To rediscover the religion believed lost for ancestors, a Mexican immigrant family reaches across continents and centuries to solve the mystery of its Jewish roots. Read on...

Yemen Response: The Jewish link to the Canaries

By Gloria Mound, February 14, 2009, The Jerusalem Post

Jonathan Beck's recent article in The Jerusalem Post ("In warm Tenerife, far from the madding crowd," February 1) was charming to read, but what a pity that no mention was made of the most important Jewish connection to the Canary Isles. We have important documentation...which shows that during the Spanish Inquisition trials there in the 16th and 17th centuries, Jews from Spain lived and and practiced their religion in this region in considerable numbers. Read on..

YemenVisitors to Yemen Report That Jews Are Reluctant To Be Rescued

By Anthony Weiss, March 25, 2009, The Forward

In recent weeks, Jewish organizations have insisted that Yemen’s tiny Jewish population is in grave danger and that a secret evacuation is necessary to bring the people to safety. But a new report written by on-the-ground observers suggests that one of the primary barriers to the Jews’ departure is the resistance of the Jews themselves. Read on...

Cuba Rites of Passage: In Cuba, a Revival in Judaism Leads Some to Israel

By Joel Millman, January 14, 2009, The Wall Street Journal

Like many young Cubans, 23-year-old Yosniel Castro wants an opportunity to leave this Communist-ruled island for a better life. Unlike many of his peers, he may have found a way out: Judaism. Mr. Castro's mother was a Catholic who married a Jew and converted to Judaism. She eventually left for Israel in 2007 with Mr. Castro's younger sister. Now Mr. Castro, who isn't related to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, hopes to convert and join them. Read on...

Amanda This Passover I've Found a Modern-day Exodus to Share
By Amanda Pazornik, April 9, 2009,

This night was different from all other nights, as partygoers commemorated the modern exodus of Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) to their new homeland in Israel. It happened at “The Road to Freedom,” a festive gathering April 2 at New Eritrea, an Ethiopian restaurant and bar in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset. Read on...

Apples White House Seder Was Like No Other
By Robin Washington, April 12, 2009, Duluth News Tribune

Testament of the gumbo, or cholent, that America’s melting pot has simmered into, it’s worth noting that the first rabbi to be related, or closely enough related, to a president is black. It’s similarly of note that an African American president is the first to host a seder — a festive meal commemorating the Jews’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt — in the White House. Read on...

Liberation Seders of Liberation
By Steve Lipman, April 6, 2009, The Jewish Week

Passover 30 years ago this year had special meaning for Aaron Kintu Moses and other members of Uganda’s small Abayudaya Jewish community. Idi Amin, the country’s president and military dictator since 1971, who had outlawed open practice of Judaism, who had collaborated with the terrorists who hijacked the Air France plane and taken Jewish passengers as hostages in Entebbe in1976, was deposed on erev Pesach 1979. Read on...

IndianTop 5 Passover Traditions from Around the World
By Lifestyle Editor, April 8, 2009, Huffington Post

Ethiopian Jews' history is strikingly similar to that of their Israelite ancestors. The Jewish community there underwent an exodus of their own in 1985, when Operation Moses and Joshua took almost 8,000 Jews from Sudan to a safe-haven in Israel, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. In commemoration of Passover and their own past, Ethiopian Jews break all of their dishes and make new ones to symbolize a complete break from the past and a new start, reports The Jewish Daily Forward. Read on...

DimonaBe'chol Lashon welcomes new staff member Andrew Esensten. Andrew graduated from Harvard College in 2007 and received a fellowship to study the African Hebrew Israelite community in Dimona, Israel. He lived inside their village from September 2007 to November 2008 and is currently writing a book about them. Congratulations to Andrew for his recent article published on the front page of the Forward, Once Reviled, Black Hebrews Now Fêted.

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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