A few hours ago, my plane landed from one central diaspora locale to another. I just returned from Boca Raton…specifically Century Village, an almost all-Jewish retirement community with buses coming back and forth from the built-in synagogue daily. I, like anyone under the age of 85 there, was visiting my grandparents who fit the cookie-cutter stereotype of the bubbie and zadie. They identify as ethnically Jewish. They are Conservative. They are white. They mingle exclusively with people who look and think like them. If you’re in Century Village for too long, you can forget that these people are far from representative of the overall American-Jewish population.
Lucky for me, I found this blog to keep me in check. A Mixedjewgirl World where “an Afro-Jewish Sociologist tackles race, class, gender, religion, and sexuality” is basically a handbook for how to become both racially and culturally aware concerning Judaism, which is too often portrayed as homogeneous in concentrated communities like Boca, but really is not. This super-cool and knowledgeable blogger has some seriously bad-ass thoughts on all areas of intersectionality.
Clueless is no excuse
1 ~ Reach out to other Jews across difference because you will find our commonalities exceed our differences by far.
2 ~ Do not assume that Jewish history and the current Jewish population is comprised most significantly of Jews of European culture ancestry.
3 ~ Consider that within the customs and traditions of the Jewish people, there is a great diversity of language, culture, custom and color. Be willing to reach for and stay connected to the diversity of the Jewish people.
4 ~ Do not assume that because a person has dark skin that they must be a convert. This is not necessarily true or fair to individuals that have been Jewish all of their lives.
5 ~ Learn to value the “inner” Jew in yourself so that you can better appreciate it in others.