I recently had the honor of seeing Family in Transition, a documentary by Ofir Trainin that centered on a family living in Nahariya, Israel, called the Tsuks. In this town of just 56,000 people, the Tsuks stand out as the only family with a parent who is transgender (Amit).
The film chronicles the challenges that Amit, her former wife Galit, and their children endured during Amit’s gender transition, while showcasing the beautiful diversity within the Jewish world. I had the chance to sit with Amit and others involved with the film to discuss how her story can inspire the Jewish...Read More
Cultural representation in literature is incredibly important, especially for kids. When children of color see characters that look like them in the books they read, they realize that their identities are just as valid as everybody else’s – that they can be just like the heroes in their favorite stories.
For Jewish children of color, living with such a rich and complex background means that it is especially important, both for them and their white Jewish friends, to read about characters with equally complex cultural backgrounds and unique stories that co-create the colorful mosaic...Read More
Names are an important part of one’s Jewish identity. We hold ceremonies dedicated to naming our children, converts to Judaism choose a Hebrew name, and figures from the Torah even change their names as their relationships with the Divine evolve (Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel). Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) even suggests that a person’s name is so powerful that it can literally shape their reality and determine their destiny.
But what do you do when you’re Jewish, but your name doesn’t “sound” Jewish?
I have one of the most definitively “non-Jewish” names on the...Read More
When I was a college freshman, I began embracing Judaism to reconnect to my Jewish ancestry. Although I was raised as a Christian, I come from a multi-ethnic background, which includes German-Jewish heritage. I found great joy in learning about Jewish culture, enjoying food and song over Kabbalat Shabbat, and bonding with my peers at Hillel. But despite my love of Judaism’s cultural and communal aspects, I couldn’t bring myself to fully acknowledge God.
I couldn’t get over the seemingly paradoxical nature of a loving Creator in such an imperfect world, and instead of examining why...Read More
Our realities are, to a degree, relative. On one hand, this is a great thing: Our varying perceptions of the world around us allow us to bring our unique viewpoints to our jobs, our communities, and our synagogues, allowing our collaborative projects to be grounded in diversity. On the other hand, we can become biased by our own perceptions and disregard those of others.
Whether it’s due to differing life experiences, our areas of privilege, or simply differences of opinion, our perceptions can sometimes prevent us from fully acknowledging the complex identities of others within...Read More
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