At the New Synagogue Project, we are building a community around liberation and mutual support. This vision includes building a home for all Jews and the people who love us and stand with us, including Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Indigenous Jews, and also non-Jewish People of Color and Indigenous people. This home within the New Synagogue Project led by POCISM (People of Color, Indigenous people, and Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews) and allows us a rare space to be together and relax into the sweetness of community in ways that we so rarely have had a space for. We hold each other in all the complexities we bring. We validate each person’s experiences and identities, and honor our unique practices and insights as the invaluable and precious Torah they are. We lead our wider community toward greater connection with humanity and the earth.
This is another space where our community is resisting racism and colonization. Too often, these oppressions play out in our Jewish communities through policy, programming, and culture, harming POCISM, flattening the beautiful diversity of Jewish experience, and perpetuating the assumption that all Jews are white and Ashkenazi. Our New Synagogue Project community is intentionally carving out a way to do things differently, with liberation at our center.
We believe in the power of solidarity and have chosen to nestle this POCISM community within the New Synagogue Project . Because we are held within a wider community, we are supported by a community of allies and together we have the power to support this liberatory vision.
If you are excited to share in community with other People of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi and/or Mizrahi (POCISM) folks, now is the time! We are building a POCISM Leadership Team to continue to create and implement vision for this liberatory work. If you want to be a part of a team to share thoughts, welcome in other POCISM, and deepen and grow our connection, please contact Kat Macias* at kathrynmacias(at)gmail.com.
Is this space for me? Should I come to these events?
This space is designed to center anyone who is directly impacted by racism, colonization, and/or Ashkenazi dominance** in Jewish spaces including:
I’m not any of these things, but my kiddo is. Should we come?
For the time being, this is a space for adult POCISM and their families and chosen families, with children included socially rather than programmatically, and does not provide meaningful engagement for children. If you’d be interested in convening a kid-centered space or a group for white parents/caregivers of POCISM children, we’d be happy to support your leadership. Please be in touch.
Are you an ally that wants to support this group and its leadership?
If you are white and you’re excited to support this, you are invited to join the POCISM leadership support team. Please reach out to Leah Douglas* at leahjdoug(at)gmail.com.
*Please note: both Kat and Leah use they pronouns.
** What’s Ashkenazi dominance? Ashkenazi Jews are one of several distinctive major ethnic-geographic-intellectual lineages among world Jewry. Ashkenazi Jews typically trace their heritage to western and eastern Europe, Russia, and former Soviet Union countries, though many Jews who converted to Judaism are Ashkenazi by practice and culture rather than literal ancestry. They make up 75-90% of American Jews depending on who’s counting, and because of this numeric dominance, their practices and cultures of Judaism are often assumed to be the only or the “normal” way to be Jewish. These assumptions and the actual marginalization of Sephardi, Mizrahi, and other Jewish lineages and practices, are part of “Ashkenazi dominance.”