Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: July 2009

Gary TobinBe'chol Lashon mourns the July 6 passing of Dr. Gary Tobin, innovative teacher, writer, community builder, and founder of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research.

Please visit to read the remembrances of Gary's friends and admirers and to add your own.

In Major School Case, British Courts Rule On Who Is a Jew In Major School Case, British Courts Rule On Who Is a Jew
By John Jeffay, The Forward, July 8, 2009

In a decision that has shocked England’s 300,000-strong Jewish community, the Court of Appeal held that ongoing personal acts of faith, rather than birth or conversion, must define who is a Jew. Read on...

First woman to head Rabbinical Assembly First woman to head Rabbinical Assembly
By Gary Stern, The Journal News, June 26, 2009

Rabbi Schonfeld's mantra is that if the Conservative movement re-emphasizes its historic mission - to study Jewish law, tradition and ritual so it can repair and sanctify the larger world - the movement will regenerate itself. Read on...

Supreme Court President Israel Victory for Reform movement in Israel as court rules state must fund all conversions
By Tomer Zarchin, Ha'aretz
, May 20, 2009

The principle of equality obliges the state to give financial support to private conversion programs belonging to non-Orthodox as well as Orthodox groups, the High Court of Justice ruled in a landmark decision. Read on...


Rabbi Juan MejiaNewly ordained Colombian rabbi vows to help Conversos
By Ben Harris, JTA, May 28, 2009

Raised as a Catholic in Colombia and educated at Christian schools, Mejía was on his way to becoming a monk when he discovered as a teenager that his family had Jewish roots. His grandfather would recall men gathering in darkened corners to place towels on their head and pray from a strange book. Read on...

Ariel Eber Field hockey family affair

By Marc Brodsky, JTA, July 6, 2009

Mim Chappell-Eber can hear the 50,000 fans cheering as the U.S. team walked into Ramat Gan Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the 2005 Maccabiah Games, the members in their red, white and blue making a circle around the field. Read on...

Multiracial People Become Fastest Growing U.S. GroupMultiracial People Become Fastest Growing U.S. Group
By Hope Yen, AP
, June 5, 2009

The number of multiracial people rose 3.4 percent last year to about 5.2 million, according to the latest census estimates. First given the option in 2000, Americans who check more than one box for race on census surveys have jumped by 33 percent and now make up 5 percent of the minority population - with millions more believed to be uncounted. Read on...

Persian JewsLA's Persian Jews root for democracy in their native land

By Brenda Gazzar, The Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2009

Sam Kermanian is one of an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Persian Jews living in the Los Angeles area. Some in this tight-knit and prosperous community, comprised of a mix of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews, have responded to recent events by attending local demonstrations against the Iranian regime. Read on...

Israel befins verificationIsrael begins verification for 3,000 more Ethiopians

By Uriel Heilman, JTA, July 15, 2009

Under the new initiative, Falash Mura, wishing to make aliyah must have a relative already in Israel who will file on their behalf and demonstrate Jewish maternal links. Spouses of such people are also eligible. Read on...

Toledo With Israel's help, Spain's Jewish quarters attempt a return to the 'Golden Age'

By Ariel Zirulnick, The Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2009

The Jewish community of Medieval Spain was very influential. The Jews and Muslims were pioneers in medicine, art, literature, philosophy and science, and they shared their knowledge and achievements with the broader community. Many Jews held positions in the Spanish courts and Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and philosophers in history, was a part of this community. Read on...


Jo Amar Sephardi music pioneer Jo Amar dies in New York
By Greer Fay Cashman , The Jerusalem Post, June 29, 2009

Although he was born in Morocco and spent a major part of his life in the United States, singer Jo Amar, who died in New York on Friday at age 79, always considered himself an Israeli. Read on...

Bollywood The Queens of Bollywood
VOX Tablet, June 29, 2009

From the earliest years of Bollywood, these and other Jewish actresses garnered starring roles. And while they may have looked somewhat exotic to moviegoers, they came from Baghdadi Jewish families who haßd been living in India for decades. Read on...

Live and BecomeBOOK REVIEW

Waiting for the Messiah

By Dan Yardeni, Ha'aretz, May 11, 2009

Most of today's Doenmeh are descendants of 20,000 Doenmeh residents of Salonica who were exiled to Turkey in the 1920s as part of a population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Their exile came in the wake of a ruling of that city's rabbis, who refused to recognize them as Jews, something that would have allowed them to remain in Greece as a minority. The historical irony of that decision is that it actually saved their lives; nearly every member of the Jewish community of Salonica was ultimately annihilated in Auschwitz or Majdanek. Read on...


San Francisco Jewish Film FestivalSan Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Be'chol Lashon Co-sponsors Zrubavel
Saturday, July 25, 4:20 PM
Castro Theatre

Be'chol Lashon is delighted to co-sponsor Zrubavel, the first feature-length Israeli drama created by Ethiopian-Israeli filmmakers that centers on a multigenerational family of Ethiopian émigrés. Stay for a reception immediately after the film. Click here for more information.

Pact Pact Annual Picnic

Sunday, August 2, 12:30-4:00 PM
Dimond Park in Oakland

Join multiracial families built by adoption in the Bay Area for a fun picnic! Bring something to grill as well as a dish to share for this annual potluck BBQ. Pact provides drinks, desserts, and utensils. Call Desiree Alexander and Leif Jenssen at 510-526-2904 for more information.

Levantine Cultural Center Film Screening: The Black Panthers (in Israel) Speak

Wednesday, August 5, Time TBA
Beth Chayim Chadashim
6000 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles

Join Be'chol Lashon and the Levantine Cultural Center for a screening of Sami Shalom Chetrit's 2003 film The Black Panthers (in Israel) Speak, about a brief period before the 1967 war in Israel when a group of young Mizrachi Israeli citizens (Arab Jews) advocated for Mizrachi rights in the face of discrimination by the Ashkenazi Jewish leadership.

Shemspeed Shemspeed Summer Music Festival

Thursday, August 6, 9:30 PM - 2:00 AM
Club Lima
19540 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA

Shemspeed is making one big stop in L.A. on the Shemspeed Music Festival tour. The show will feature some of the hottest Israeli hip hop artists, including Y-Love & Diwon, fresh off their Australian tour. Tickets are $15, drinks $5, 21+. Visit for more information.


6th Sephardic Anousim Conference6th Sephardic Anousim Conference
Friday, July 31 - Sunday, August 2
B'nai Zion, El Paso

Join Bat Tzion Hebrew Learning Center and Congregation B'nai Zion for a weekend of terrific speakers, tasty meals, and spiritual Shabbat services. $110 conference fee includes all programs & meals. Click here for more information or call Sonya Loya (575) 257-0122 or Rabbi Leon (915) 833-2222.


Group: Jews from racially and ethnically diverse backgroundsGroup: Jews from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds
Wednesday, August 5, 7:30 - 9:00 PM
Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services
120 West 57th St., NYC

Our topic will be Jewish women of color and dating within the Jewish community, presented from a wonderful paper by Liora Harvin. Please RSVP to Judy Levitan or call 212-399-2685 ext 219.


Health Center SiteWe are happy to announce that we are resuming our montly updates on the progress of the Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project. This month: Rabbi Gershom Sizomu leads a memorial service for Dr. Gary Tobin, and photos of the new health center site in Mbale. For the complete update and to read updates from 2007 and 2008, click here.


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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