At the New Synagogue Project, we are building a community around liberation, inclusion, and mutual support. This vision includes building a home for Jews of all colors and walks of life, along with those who love us and stand with us. In striving for an inclusive community, this Space serves Jews of color and Jews with Sephardi, Mizrahi, and Indigenous heritage, as well as folks of color and of Indigenous heritage connected to our community who do not identify as Jewish. This JOC Space within the New Synagogue Project is led by Jews of color and is committed to uplifting the unique identities, complexities, and insights of this community.
We also have a Chanukah cookbook! The recipes in this cookbook were sourced from folks in our community. As a reflection of our community, this cookbook is a small reminder that there are Jewish foodways beyond Ashkenazi customs. You can access the JOC Space Chanukah Cookbook here.
This is another space where our community is resisting racism, imperialism, and colonization. These oppressions play out in our Jewish communities through policy, programming, and cultural dogma, in ways that harm JOCs, erase their experiences, and obscure the beautiful diversity of the greater Jewish experience. The effect of this oppression also perpetuates the assumption that all Jews are white and Ashkenazi.
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.
Can I bring someone?
Yes – family members and significant others who are supporting you are always welcome. We simply request that those guests that do not identify as a Jew of Color or Black, Indigenous, or as a person of color respect the focus of the space, which is for Jews of Color.
I may not be “directly impacted,” but my child is — should we come?
Absolutely! We want to make sure that kids of color can be supported in our community, though the programming has so far centered on adult-oriented programming. We do request that white parents respect the focus of the space and remain open to growth and learning opportunities from the space.
Interested in getting involved to help think on more kid-centric planning?
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.”