Be'chol Lashon Newsletter: MAY 2011

Media Winners Winners: Carl Hoffman, Tamás Wormser, Nicole Opper, Avery Klein-Cloud & Carolivia Herron

A personal account of the Jews of the Philippines, an amazing collection of Jewish musical communities, a touching coming of age film about an African American adoptee and a children’s book which encompasses the joys and struggles of Jewish life took top honors in the annual Be'chol Lashon Media Awards.


Shavuot Celebrating Shavuot

Shavuot is one of three ancient pilgrimage holidays which followed the rhythms of agrarian life. Today it is celebrated as a holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah at Sinai, the revelation that is at the center of Jewish religious life. In addition to celebrating the first harvests and the receiving of the Torah Shavuot is a time for joyously welcoming converts and fellow travelers into the Jewish community.


Black, Gay, And Jewish Black, Gay, and Jewish-New Jews: Blessing or Nuisance
By Erika Davis, Jewcy, April 27, 2011

Let’s just get something straight-I’m not a better Jew, I’m a newer Jew. I decided to convert to Judaism after 31 years of uninspired Christianity.

Slave to IDF From slave to IDF officer: A Guinean's story
By Smadar Shir,, May 3, 2011

At just 15 Avi Be'eri was sold to slave traders who smuggled him into Israel from Guinea, he managed to turn his life around and will now become an IDF officer.

Conver to Judaism Convert them to Judaism
By Victor Sharpe, Arutz Sheva, May 12, 2011

If our ancient rabbis saw no contradiction in their divinely inspired mission to encourage all non-Jews to embrace the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One and Only God, invisible and indivisible, then why not now?


Rabbi Capers FunnyeHallelu-YAH! Jewish Music Like You've Never Heard Before

Be’chol Lashon Associate Director, Rabbi Capers Funnye, and the choir at Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Hebrew Congregation in Chicago performed a soulful concert with “spirited and infectious music” of traditional liturgical music and Hebrew folk songs. Watch the video here.

Rabbi Gershom SizomuAbayudaya Update

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu’s successful spring education and fundraising tour took him from the Peninsula JCC in Foster City, CA to synagogues in Baltimore, to the 92nd Street Y in NYC  to South Florida and more.  Donate today and help provide life saving health services to the Abayudaya Jews and their Christian and Muslim neighbors. Email us to bring Rabbi Sizomu to your community in the fall!

Y-LoveBe'chol Lashon & Shemspeed Music Video Premiere of Y-Love's hit single, "This is Unity"

Y-LOVE, African American Orthodox Jewish hip-hop artist from New York City, in partnership with Be’chol Lashon & Shemspeed premiered new music video “This Is Unity.” This song calls to the inclusivity of all races and ethnicities that makeup the Jewish people.

santa martaJews in Columbia participating in Mezuton

Be’chol Lashon’s Southwestern Coordinator, Rabbi Juan Mejia, has been working with a small isolated Jewish community located in Santa Marta, Columbia, which is participating in the Mezuton, an event that intends to bless homes and place mezuzot on doorway entrances across the continent on May 29th, 2011.

Leavitt-Kim-FamilyRaising Children on Kugel and Kimchi, and as Jews

Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim, Be'chol Lashon research scholars, found that an increasing number of Asian-Jewish couples are raising their children Jewish."Of the 37 couples the researchers studied, all “are raising children with some element of Judaism as a framework for their childhood”


Ghandi The Soul Behind ‘Great Soul’
By Eric Herschthal, The Jewish Week, May 3, 2011

But Gandhi took more dubious positions too — and ones of keen interest to Jews. Perhaps most important was his outspoken pacifism during the Second World War...


SF Circumcision S.F. circumcision ban should be rejected
SF Gate, May 23, 2011

Male circumcision is a medical and religious act with thousands of years of history. Medical data show that boys who have the procedure in infancy have fewer urinary tract infections, and it may offer some protection to adult men and their partners from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Argentina World Jewish Congress calls for probe of brutal attack
Jewish Congress, May 11, 2011

The history of the" synagogue in America, a new book shows, is one of rifts, splits, factions, and the ever-evolving tension between tradition and modernity.


Sacha Cohen The comedy gang: The Jewish youth group that made Sacha Baron Cohen
By Peter Stanford, The Independent, May 7, 2011

Mike Leigh was a member – and so were David Baddiel and Sacha Baron Cohen. How did a club for 'hippy Jewish scouts' become a hothouse for the entertainment industry?


Hebrew School Hebrew School
By Anna Phillips, Tablet, March 9, 2011

Two years ago the Hebrew Language Academy—New York City’s first Hebrew-language charter school—opened in Brooklyn to fierce opposition.

Intertwined Intertwined
By Stephen Marche, Tablet, March 2, 2011

Boy met girl. Boy married girl. But girl is Jewish, and boy is not. Now I’m a goy, part of a growing community of non-Jews with Jewish spouses, Jewish children, and a special connection to Judaism.


Malabar House HotelKochi: Behind the ramparts
By Leisa Tyler, Sydney Morning Herald, May 7, 2011

In Kochi, Leisa Tyler discovers colonial mansions and tribal jewellery in a spice town experiencing a revival. Occupying a sliver of land that guards a natural harbour on India's Malabar Coast in the southern state of Kerala, Fort Cochin became a hub for merchants plying the spice route millenniums ago.

Casablanca Morocco: Only Jewish museum in Arab world
By AFP,, May 11, 2011

Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca assembles hodgepodge of objects – clothes, tools, jeweller's studio – attesting to rich history of country's 2,000-year-old Jewish community.

Bangladesh Jewish ConnectionBangladesh: Jewish connections
By David Zetlet, The Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2011

Very few Jews settled in East Bengal, as opposed to West Bengal, which had a thriving Jewish community of more than 5,000 at its peak in and around Kolkata (then Calcutta).


Israel in the GardensIsrael in the Gardens
June 5, 2011, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Visit the Be'chol Lashon Kids Zone for interactive performances, including West African drumming and dancing, plus arts and crafts for the entire family.

Camp Be'chol LashonCamp Be'chol Lashon
July 31 - August 12, Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA Register today!

There is still space at Camp Be'chol Lashon, a new overnight Jewish camp for children who want to be part of a global Jewish community. Generous camperships are available.

Camp Be'chol LashonBe'chol Lashon Retreat
October 14 - 16, Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA Register today!

Be part of a vibrant growing global Jewish community. Celebrate Sukkot with family and friends at the Bay Area Bechol Lashon Retreat!


Be'chol Lashon/JBFCS NY Group for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Jews
Wednesday, June 1, 7-9pm
135 W. 50th St., 6th Floor, Suite 4, NYC

Join a group of racially and ethnically diverse Jews to meet and discuss related topics. This month- Kosher: What's in? What's out? And what does it mean?
RSVP required. Co-sponsored by Be'chol Lashon and JBFCS.

Finding Home: The Art of Siona BenjaminFinding Home: The Art of Siona Benjamin
Wednesday June 1, 7:30pm
JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. @ 76th Street, NY 10023

In the vibrant world created by Indian Jewish artist Siona Benjamin (originally from Bombay, now living in the US), Biblical characters appear as blue angels faced with problems and dilemmas of the contemporary world.

Gloria GoldenJCC: The Crypto-Jews of New Mexico
May 16 - July 24
Roland Exhibition Corridor of the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC

Photographer, author and lecturer Gloria Golden traveled through North Africa and Spain to find remnants of Judaism there. She reveals 500 years of the difficulties of the Sephardim and shows how the soul of Judaism endures in this ambitious project.


Aardvark Israel Immersion ProgramAardvark Israel Immersion Program

Be'chol Lashon is partnering with Aardvark Israel to offer opportunities for Jewish students from around the world to participate in an exciting semester or year in Israel. Learn more | Help students participate

Go Global with Be'chol LashonGo Global with Be'chol Lashon

Be'chol Lashon advocates for a global understanding of the Jewish people that reflects contemporary identity. Get the word out there! Support diversity by putting a banner on your website and connect with Jews around world by joining the new Be'chol Lashon social network!


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 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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