Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: December 2009
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Aliza HausmanSPOTLIGHT: Aliza Hausman, "Jewminicana"
With Lacey Schwartz, Be'chol Lashon Podcast, December 2009

In this month's podcast, Aliza Hausman sits down with Be'chol Lashon New York Director Lacey Schwartz to talk about the challenges and rewards of being a Dominican American convert to Orthodox Judaism, or "Jewminicana" for short.

Latinos Discover Affinity for JudaismLatinos Discover A Deep Affinity for Judaism
By Roberto Loiederman, Jewish Journal, December 3, 2009

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 people become Jews-by-choice each year in North America. And nearly half of the people Rabbi Daniel Mehlman helps with conversion are Latinos who trace their ancestry to countries like Mexico, El Salvador and Colombia.

The Boy From RangoonThe Boy From Rangoon
By Margot Lurie, Tablet Magazine, October 27, 2009

My grandfather died in 1987, but I’m certain that if he could see what I saw on the Yeshiva University campus—how its Sephardic presence had blossomed in the decades since his first pioneering days there—he would shake his head, smile, and offer, in his lilting accent, a most sincere “hazak u’barukh.”

Scott SimonHow to Say Thanksgiving in Mandarin
By Scott Simon, The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2009

When my parents—a Jewish man and an Irish woman—married in the 1950s, they were warned, as transracial adoption families often are, that their children would face bigotry and hostility. But today, our 6-year-old niece Juliette, a California blond, slips her arm around the shoulders of our daughters and says, "We're cousins for life, right?"


Gearing up for a new FDNY Gearing up for a new FDNY
By Peter Spencer,, December 20, 2009

The issue of diversity no doubt looms large as Bloomberg weighs his decision on the next commissioner. There has been speculation he may seek to make a statement by appointing Mylan L. Denerstein, who is of African-American and Jewish descent.

Inquiry threatened if Falash Mura aliya not sped up Inquiry threatened if Falash Mura aliya not sped up
By Ruth Eglash, The Jerusalem Post
, December 9, 2009

A parliamentary inquiry will be launched if those involved in facilitating aliya from Ethiopia do not restart processing, within the next two months, the applications of thousands of Falash Mura still waiting to immigrate.

Rabbi Leib Tropper Advocate of Strict Conversions in Scandal
By Josh Nathan-Kazis, The Forward, December 23, 2009

A key proponent of the successful campaign for stricter conversions in Israel and around the world has resigned from a senior post, and has not denied rumors of a conversion scandal of his own.


Ethiopian Jews Celebrate a Festival, Gain Israeli Attention for Their TraditionsEthiopian Jews Celebrate a Festival, Gain Israeli Attention for Their Traditions
By Nathan Jeffay, The Forward, November 27, 2009

It looked like a scene straight out of the Bible. The men at the front wore outfits based on those of the Priests of the Ancient Temple of Jerusalem, and sent out over the hills a wail that could be heard several miles away.

The Persian Jewish Community of Beverly Hills The Persian Jewish Community of Beverly Hills
By Ari Bussel,, December 5, 2009

The Persian community is characterized, in my mind's eye, by three traits: close-knit, the value it places on education and its staunch support of Israel.

Brazil Jews decry 'exclusion' from college entrance exam Brazil Jews decry 'exclusion' from college entrance exam
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Ha'aretz, November 29, 2009

Brazilian Jewish teenagers this week protested what they called their "exclusion" from a national exam for high school graduates set to take place on Shabbat, after a Brazilian court said providing Jews with an alternative date would "undermine equality."


Entree to Judaism Jewish cookbook offers culinary world tour
By Tina Danze, Dallas Morning News, December 2, 2009

Entrée to Judaism is a vast, multiethnic survey of Jewish cooking. The diversity of recipes in this book will astound you – especially if your idea of Jewish food is stuck in the brisket and matzo ball soup vein.

Ilan Stavans Seduced by Stavans
By Ezra Glinter, The Forward, December 9, 2009

A Jewish native of Mexico City who grew up speaking Yiddish and Spanish before moving to the United States, Ilan Stavans has a familiarity with, and even an authority in, several cultural traditions. He is at home in both the Spanish and English literary worlds, as well as with Spanish colonial and Jewish history.

Celestina A Chic "Celestina"
By Mónica Szurmuk, Public Radio International's The World, October 8, 2009

Written in the fifteenth century, “Celestina” remains a classic work of Spanish literature that, in a lively new English translation, proffers all the sex, drama, and violence necessary for an HBO mini-series.


Group: Jews from racially and ethnically diverse backgroundsNY Group: Jews from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 7:30 - 9:00 PM
Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services
120 West 57th St., NYC

Our topic will be “Jews in Hollywood: How They Represent Us,” presented by Elisheva Rishon. RSVP required to Judy Levitan or call 212-399-2685 ext 219. Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon.

Defining SephardicDefining Sephardic: A Roundtable Discussion on Sephardic Identity
Friday, January 14, 2010, 6:30 PM

Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street

Defining Sephardic will be a kick-off event that explores identity in the Sephardic, or “non-Ashkenazi” community of New York—a round-table discussion about the complexities of “Sephardi” identity and how these labels play out in the different Sephardic communities of New York. Hosted by the American Sephardi Federation: Next Generation and moderated by Lacey Schwartz, Be'chol Lashon New York Director. For more information, e-mail Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon.


NUJLS 2010 ConferenceNUJLS 2010 Conference
Friday-Sunday, January 15-17, 2010

University of California, Los Angeles
$80 registration fee includes meals (all kosher), housing, and all conference events; subsidies available

The National Union of Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and Questioning (NUJLS) leadership conference, open to all students, features workshops, services, community building, and social time. Be’chol Lashon Los Angeles Director Davi Cheng will lead a workshop on Sunday, January 17 at 11:00 AM called "Harnessing the Power of Our Multiple Identities." Click here to register.

The True Story of DefianceThe True Story of Defiance: An afternoon with Zvi Bielski, son of Partisan Hero Zus Bielski
Sunday, January 31, 2010
, 4:00 PM
Congregation Chevra Thilim
751 25th Ave., San Francisco

Hear the inside story of how the Bielski Brothers stood up to the Nazis and saved 1,200 Jews, the story that inspired the 2008 movie "Defiance." Click here to RSVP or e-mail Co-presented by Be'chol Lashon and the Holocaust Center of Northern California.

NUJLS 2010 ConferencePurim Unmasked: An Off-Street Festival
Sunday, February 28, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
JCC San Francisco
3200 California Street, San Francisco

Celebrating Jewish Identity and survival, Purim is traditionally observed with a joyous, irreverent and carnival-like festivities. Celebrate the holiday with food, wine, music and activities including face painting, henna art and hamantaschen baking. Browse for unique items and crafts by local artists. There's something fun for everyone! Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon.


Health Center Construction Be'chol Lashon Media Awards 2010
Established in 2007, the Be'chol Lashon Media Awards honor excellence in coverage of the ethnic and racial diversity of world Jewry. Open to staff or freelance reporters; editors; producers for newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and film; individuals and teams. No entry fee. Deadline: January 31, 2010. Click here to submit your work for consideration.

Camp Be'chol LashonCamp Be'chol Lashon
July 25 - August 8, 2010
Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA
Registration now open!

Camp Be'chol Lashon's mission is to offer a safe, nurturing, challenging residential Jewish camp experience for children of racially and ethnically diverse Jewish families and those who want to be part of a global Jewish community. Register | Apply for staff

Health Center ConstructionAbayudaya Update
In this month's update on the progress of the Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project: "So far so good!" at the Health Center construction site, and Rabbi Gershom Sizomu to return to U.S. for spring speaking tour. For the complete update and to read updates from 2007 and 2008, click here.

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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.

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