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Jews of color

Hand of a Black woman wearing blue nail polish and using a pen to write in a notebook as if penning a letter

If you are my friend, know that I am mourning the heinous murder of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers who worked for a police department with a long history of excessive use of force against Black and Brown bodies.

Jessi Kingston
Collage of four Black individuals holding signs that say EQUAL

As fulfilling as it was to engage in Shavuot programs, a lot weighs on me. With COVID-19 continuing to ravage Black communities and racist violence all over the news, I almost feel like it’s Yom Kippur instead – the time when Jews are supposed to be most aware of their own mortality.

Chris Harrison
Young Black woman wearing a face mask outdoors

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted nearly everyone across the globe, and the Jewish community is no exception. Those of us who are Jews of Color – comprising approximately 12 percent of the U.S. Jewish community – feel a particular sense of isolation and anxiety.

Chris Harrison
Still from the film Just Mercy showing Michael B Jordans character comforting the character played by Jamie Foxx

I carry the trauma of my ancestors, who were kidnapped and enslaved, who survived post-abolition racist terrorism, and who survived devastating Jim Crow laws. I also carry the history of the Jewish people, who have survived countless acts of violence, forced conversion, and genocide.

Chris Harrison
Amanda Ryan rests her chin her her hand and smiles behind a fully lit menorah

A number of things have helped me get to a place where I felt more accepting of my own identities and able to take shame and doubt and transform them into strength and courage.

Amanda Ryan
Colorful paper cutouts depicting a group of people

I am Black, I am Jewish, and I am a lesbian, among other things – and I am all of those things at all times in every context; not parts that intersect, but a whole person who fits into different worlds and spaces.

Everlyn A. Hunter
Plate of pineapple rugelach on a floral tablecloth

One of my favorite things about digging into a recipe is learning how a single cookie can connect us to generations past as a tangible link to a time and place in our history.

Lauren Monaco Grossman
Evan Traylor standing at a podium addressing the URJ Biennial
Photo credit: Rob Dicker/Union for Reform Judaism

Hope can be too hard to find - but really, those moments are exactly when we need hope the most. As I reflect upon my life, I am struck by this idea of hope, and how it serves as the underpinning of my entire family’s history.

Evan Traylor
Aerial flatlay of book THE COLOR OF LOVE by Marra Gad sitting on a blanket next to a succulent

Marra Gad is the author of a new memoir chronicling her childhood as “a mixed-race, Jewish unicorn." We caught up with her to hear more about her story and her philosophy on life and love.

Kate Bigam Kaput
Amanda Ryan smiles while holding up a challah cover with Hebrew words and a hand drawn pomegranate

As Jews of a variety of backgrounds and histories, I see food as the perfect way to embrace our differences that bring us together as a people and a family.

Amanda Ryan

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