Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: October 2009
SPOTLIGHT: Davi Cheng, "One-Stop Shop" Minority
Davi Cheng says although there are many similarities between Chinese and Jewish cultures, such as devotion to family and valuing education, the differences sometimes make it hard to be both Chinese and Jewish. No pork lo mein, for example.
Appreciation: Samuel Hallegua
Hallegua's death marks the demise of a great leader and brilliant personality, as well as the historic extinction of a Jewish Diaspora community. Only 10 souls remain in Mattancherry, Cochin, all but two of them over the age of 70.
Out of Fear: Bnei Anousim return to Judaism
"The story of the anousim is the absolute triumph of conscience," says Juan Mejía, 32, an ordained rabbi and the descendant of anousim. "You can control me on the outside, but you can't control what I believe. The idea is so profoundly Jewish, so profoundly human."
Jews of color come together to explore identity
At the most recent Be’chol Lashon fall retreat, held Oct. 2-4 at Walker Creek Ranch just north of San Francisco, parents interviewed said they look at the Be’chol Lashon activities as supplementary, giving them space to explore their connection to Judaism without having to explain who they are.
Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast
Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.
To My Fellow Jews: Stop Naming Diseases After Ourselves, Oy Veh!
I declare 2009 as the year of the end of Jewish-named diseases, and from now on, only positive discoveries. Let's get back to the days of associations like The Marx Brothers, Albert Einstein, and Itzhak Perlman.
Sukkat Shalom: From Uganda to the U.S. and Back
By Amy Klein, The Jewish Journal, September 30, 2009
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu is starting a health clinic in Mbale—this after getting malaria under control by distributing mosquito nets, digging wells and teaching about sanitation and health—all with the support of Be’chol Lashon in San Francisco.
After long decline, Ladino in Turkey enjoys a modest revival
By Robin Cembalest, Tablet, October 8, 2009
Gerson Sarhon is supervising the effort to record the vanishing generation of native Ladino speakers and post sound files on the Web as part of a study to analyze distinctions in vocabulary and accent.
In Mexico City, insular community begins to reach out
By Ben Harris, JTA, October 5, 2009
In recent years, Mexican Jews have made a noticeable effort to reach beyond the walls and develop closer ties with their non-Jewish countrymen. The community has long enjoyed close relations with the government, but various initiatives have sought to broaden the community's ties.
Jewish Actress Sophie Okonedo Explores Biracial Identity
“I’m a North London, working-class, black, Jewish girl,” actress Sophie Okonedo said. “I love my upbringing because it had so many different colors; it’s given me the equipment to play lots of diverse roles.”
Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey—most of us have little familiarity with the rich Jewish life that thrived in these lands prior to the Holocaust. A new exhibit celebrates what remains and what has been lost.
By Cesar Muñoz Acebes, EFE, October 16, 2009
For her latest book, “Christopher Columbus: The DNA of his Writings,” Estelle Irizarry pored over the language and syntax the Great Navigator used in more than 100 letters, diaries and documents.
Nights of Love with Yasmin Levy
Yasmin Levy's deep, spiritual singing, passionate vocal delivery, and charismatic sense of humor have mesmerized audiences and media around the world. The Israeli singer is an advocate for cultural tolerance and a champion of Ladino - an ancient language facing extinction which was spoken by the Sephardic Jews who fled Spain in 1492.
If you're a book lover who gets excited at the chance to meet and mingle with authors, BookFest is your paradise. This one day event brings you face to face with popular, international and award-winning writers. Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon.
Kat Parra and the Sephardic Musical Experience Ensemble
Known for her Latin jazz vocals, Kat Parra now turns her attention to the vibrant music of the Sephardic Jews. Parra initially became interested in this rich musical heritage when she discovered her own personal connection to Spanish Jewry. Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon.
A demonstration and hands-on workshop
We add color to our season of exploring Sephardic culture with a henna workshop. Many Sephardic Jews, particularly those from North Africa, included henna painting as part of the bride's pre-wedding festivities to symbolize fertility and to protect against the evil eye. Henna was also used as part of the Purim holiday. Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon.
Klezmer en Buenos Aires
The Lerner Moguilevsky Dúo
have been wowing audiences around the world for over a decade. With uncanny ability, the duo trade instruments and grab onto the melody, improvising backward and forward to put an original spin on the klezmorim of old.
EAST COAST EVENTS
NY Group: Jews from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds
Mark you calendars for the next meeting for Jews from Diverse Ethnic and Racial Backgrounds. RSVP required to Judy Levitan or call 212-399-2685 ext 219.
From Ghetto to Ghetto: An African-American Journey to Judaism
At a time when we are increasingly aware of diversity in the Jewish community, and when the first African-American president holds a seder at the White House, Ernest Adams’ personal story could not be more timely nor his analysis of race and religion in American more relevant. Click here for tickets.
Race and Judaism Symposium:
In Every Tongue—In Memory of Gary Tobin
The 2009 Race and Judaism Symposium at Temple University will be devoted to themes in memory of Dr. Gary Tobin, the President of the Institute for Jewish Research and Community, who died on July 6, 2009. Tobin, with his wife Diane, also founded Be’chol Lashon/In Every Tongue, a think–tank devoted to the study of Jewish diversity and bringing diverse communities of Jewish people together across the globe. This symposium will bring together a group of scholars at Temple University culminating with a closing keynote by Rabbi Capers Funnye of the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago, Illinois. Click here for the full schedule.
Matisyahu Returns to Rock the 'gogue
Named the Top Reggae Artist of 2006 by Billboard Magazine, Hasidic Jewish reggae/rapper Matisyahu makes his return to Sixth & I to promote his new album Light. Famous for unforgettable appearances at Bonnarroo, Matisyahu has also left Sixth & I audiences in awe twice before and is set to rock the 'gogue again. An electrifying live performer whose concerts the Chicago Tribune describes as "soul shaking." Click here for tickets.
In this month's update on the progress of the Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project: workers plaster the ground floor and prepare to cast the first floor slab, and Rabbi Gershom Sizomu returns to the U.S. for his Fall speaking tour. 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, Esther@BecholLashon.org. Submissions are subject to editing for content, clarity and style.
Special thanks to all the contributors who make the newsletter interesting and informative.