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tv   Mosaic  CBS  September 19, 2021 5:30am-6:00am PDT

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good morning and welcome to mosaic been honored to be your host this morning. safe communities do a lot to pay attention to their own demographics but would like to invite you into our wonderful conversation with alana kaufman with this executive director tour. welcome. so faith communities it really pay attention to their own demographics. so you're involved in just a
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wonderful fascinating aspect of our own jewish community locally and nationally. let's jump right in and ask what is the initiative? >> thank you for inviting us to this conversation. we've been around for about 19 months. and we have 3 areas of focus but the first thing we do is we run the nation's only philanthropic fund focused specifically -- specifically on jewish people of color. the grass roots networking, research building and knowledge making, developing new ideas and concepts and organizations and research initiatives, all centered around of color, advocating for the jewish community and understand itself is a multiracial jewish community that's our first area of focus. the second thing we have the privilege of doing his conduct research for the entire national jewish ecosystem could
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in the last 18 months we conducted a study called accounting inconsistencies with stanford university. is a demographic analysis for of color in the united states but in the third thing we do is get to do education in the community, we do work with fellowships, leadership teams, boards, with this idea helping understand that the jewish community is not ashk an thited states we are a multi-racial community, and how do we educate our leaders, around that we need to understand about the demographics, what we need to understand about planning forward in the community and what we need to understand about what the jewish community is and who we are now and in the u.s., and we are going to be fit >> used a particular inside word was -- which is ashkenazi, is a hebrew yiddish word that refers specifically of it of eastern european origin and in the context of the united
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states who are white. >> it's an interesting question because guess that's the origin of the word. so in the field and practice we use that term, suggesting the u.s. jewish community express is itself with that culture, and on the one hand we might think that that flags or signals white. but on the other hand think about all the jewish families in the u.s., where you have one white parent and one parent of color and that one white parent might be ashkenazi so they will both be jewish people of color with that culture and ethnicity. it's not exclusively white. but it off and codes for white to and what we have projected as jewish in the united states . >> i think you are touching on something that is so important which is we are so complex with race in north america and relate with the united states. so talk about something like that, that sort of says there is a brand where we aspire to
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something, or something is declared as mainstream. wondering if you can talk with any jewish context i know it's a complex question. but, it doesn't mean in our own context to assimilate to something that is perceived as normal, but it's not completely normative. and a jewish person of color isn't just a person of a particular skin color who happens to want to assimilate into a normative jewish life. but it works very seriously with that kind of an issue. >> largely when the came to the united states in the 1900s, the first ones that came to the united states, and they were often moving toward something but not necessarily fleeing
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their environment, and as we look at sort of what we consider the largest wave of european jews that, , they came in the 20th century and they were fleeing the marginalized depressed, targeted in their own countries, the whole group of jews came . it's very important to talk about the complexity of race from the u.s. is obsessed with race that we have stratified our nation based on race, based on dark to light his skin tone, and everything else in some way, is not normal in the u.s. eastern european came to the united states they were not classified as white for they were classified as other. and over time because of u.s. politics around race, eastern european have the opportunity to have some privileges that come with whiteness, those for
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things like tools for upward mobility like access to college education homelands, access to bank loans, access to homes in the suburbs. for that moment, for the most part, were assimilating into the u.s. because of run from anti-semitism. in some way it was a way to protect ourselves from being targeted as . then over time, the u.s. racial politics invited folks from western europe, greece, romania, turkey, ireland, to sort of fade into whiteness while the u.s. community those are separated themselves. >> fascinating we need to take a quick break real quick here on mosaic.
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good morning welcome back to mosaic. honored to be your host we are in the middle of a wonderful conversation with ivana who is the executive director of the jews of color organization. we are talking about color in the jewish community and that big landscape, so i'm wondering if we can do better, as a
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tactic, why, why choose philanthropy in the initiative at the philanthropic fund to in some ways articulate a vision, and hopefully format change. >> what a great question we think about the pathways to leadership in a national community health ecosystem when you think about the pathways to be able to create programs, to be able to match policies with the people we are trying to serve, there has to be some organizational vehicle to all of that happened, and in our national ecosystem like many other major fields and ecosystems, one of the vehicles is philanthropy which is like giving communal resources to leaders, to programs, to different vehicles to create change, and to create programs, policies, organizations that support the work of the field. in this case there are almost no communal leadership pathways focused on jews of color, there
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are 2 fellowships in the whole national region that focused on jews of color. they then have no jews of color error maybe like one. there has been almost no communal philanthropic giving to jew's of color, in the whole history of philanthropy in the u.s. no focused effort, no real resources expressed in that area if you commit some of the communal foundations, some of the colleagues we work with the foundation's resources enable them to give away $2 million a week. and in that context, we need to make sure that some of the resources for our jewish communal ecosystem programs and fields are going to jew's of color, there was no focused effort to bring funds to jew's of color, amazing people, amazing leaders, amazing programs, with the resources not only to help them build out
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ideas, help support that work, but together, these programs and experiences to create a field for the jewish community in the u.s. >> that's fascinating so philanthropy is such a complex topic, and certainly will talk about any group of people, that is other, the rise in society especially in the capitalistic society is economic. so the use of philanthropy in there, giving and giving back, has a very strong force. how we as jews make ourselves capable in a society. i'm wondering if you know of any way in which that example has been followed by other communities while other folks of color in the catholic church, and -- it's such a way in which this example has been
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followed in any way for this particular communities of color prints because i'm not aware of any examples, but i will respond with 2 brief points, something that we are learning about how to conduct our philanthropies outside of the jewish world, we work with networks of color, and philanthropy, to inform some of the practices and approaches. part of what is going on we are learning outside of the jewish space, so that's really important, and when i think about parlaying that into the faith world, for some of our colleagues commended this conversation and we need of version of this for that community. any community in the u.s. that is a faith-based community that has multiracial dynamics at play, and needs the attention of navigating its own racism issues. the u.s. creates racism issues, it's not something to be blamed for. but, every faith group in the
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u.s. is multiracial, and every faith group that is multiracial is a is affected by that form of racism. >> think you so much we will co a moment here on mosaic.
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welcome back to mosaic . i'm honored to be your host we are in the middle of a wonderful conversation with the executive representative for jews of color. i'm wondering if we can talk about on a more personal individual level, what is the spiritual jewish drive for us,
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and they, to make jews of color and really all of us spiritually nourished in our own jewish communities among ourselves? >> what a beautiful question and i will respond with a very brief personal story, which is that, being in the jewish community, and being involved in the jewish spiritual life and it gives us tools to navigate life. so for jews of color, we don't push them so far away from jewish life that they can't access the tools of spiritual growth spiritual nourishment i had conversation where resisting happened with a colleague. she was unaware of the situation that happened, and i said to myself i'm going to make sure to talk with her before yom kippur, so that she had an opportunity to reflect on this and have an opportunity
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to come back into a relation ship on this racism that happen. i said if it had not been for the tool of reflecting and preparing for yom kippur, i wouldn't have been able to come back to you and have this conversation. and it occurred to me how important it was for me to be in a relationship with my spiritual path went spiritual tools to stay in relationship to navigate a moment that was awkward and clunky and felt not great around racism and to help both of us grow because we are in community together. as we could to be in community, access to. likely is that when we have hard times we have the tools to grow, or grieve, reflect, and what does it mean in the u.s. context that is quite frankly so marred by negativity around politics, and kind of identity sort of conflicts out there in the land, this is an even more important time for jewish people in general be connected to spiritual tools and pathways, and -- what a shame if racism keeps jews of color
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away from the community. >> you remind me that every faith community essentially has a theological foundation, whether somebody is faith inherent, and in the jewish context it occurs to me we have this notion that everybody is created uniquely in god's image. so, for myself, it seems to me that's true, then it must be that our diversity, is a testament to god's unfathomable creativity. so i just wonder if part of our inside work is that let's say in an odd way, that's kind of interesting to use but in an odd way our theology has been normative, and prepped of the
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work in our faith community and other faith communities differently depend on theology, is somehow there is a internal theological repair for us to do to understand our own selves as a diversity of god's creativity. then of course, god is not white. god is not a lot of things, we think of god as inedible anyway. some just wonder, i don't know what your reflection is on that but it just seems to me all of these ways of what it is to belong and go in, and still walkman has a lot to do with how we understand what our theological position is and maybe that's where the repair is. >> i think that's totally right on, and i would add, i'm unable to access the he phase ph reina. if we understand ourselves, as diverse and multifaceted and
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multidimensional, it would remind us that each time we see somebody, our job is not to make sense of them and figure out what kind of jewish they are whose parent is jewish in that context, or are they really jewish if they don't look familiar to me, the invitation is to remember that god is in everyone of us and we are each a reflection of that, so you know, we are at the facets in regard and we must never forget was in front of us we ought to be loving and kind. >> may be racism is a specific one that theology heals. >> somehow we also need to access the tools as being in connection to bridge that gap . >> we are going to come back to iswonderful conversation in
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good morning and welcome back to mosaic we would like to welcome back elana kaufman the executive director of the jews of color initiative. we've talked so much about of the work of the initiative and its philosophy, so let's just go over the numbers. >> in the united states, according to the data and the research, there are about 7.2 million jewish people in the u.s., and that number comprises both adults and young people ages 18 and under. and of that number, our study tells us that at a minimum, 12
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to 15% of that number are jewish people of color, so at a very minimum in the united states 1 million of our 7 million jewish people or people of color. just to put that into context if you are opening your eyes, at least one person of every minion should be a person of color. let me just add that over time, in the u.s., general population of the united states, every next-generation of born here are going to be people of color. so more and more each generation of jew are people of color our community is becoming more people of color just like national data, while the timex not the same, the data tells us that someday the majority of u.s. jew' will be people of color come this isn't a theoretical opportunity to grapple with racial diversity, and racism, the u.s. jewish community is multiracial and it's going to become more racially diverse and we want to make sure our community is
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connected and strong and thriving. >> so, most of our jews of color are they in jewish urban environment? >> looked at 50 national studies and another 5 studies that looked at the jewish community from other angles and there is a majority of jew's in general so jewish people of color on the coast, and major metropolitan areas, but are we certain that they tell us we found them in omaha nebraska and austin texas, and raleigh north carolina, and seattle, and wisconsin, and cleveland, and so there are pockets of jews of color where there are people of color in the u.s., because everything is is racism makes people move into
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environments that are more hospitable and diverse, so you see jews of color, and everywhere you see jew's in the u.s. you see jews of color. we are over representative on the coast, but also in some ways like in the robust populations and those same communities that provided hospitality and safety for people of color leading racist communities all over the community. >> so, in the jewish community itself, you know we had an ongoing conversation about is a jew whether they've converted, foreign jewish, or in a jewish family, so i'm wondering from the jews of color, doesn't encompass, formatting is a mainstream jewish understanding of you are in a jewish family, if you are intermarried, how does that work from the jews of color perspective? >> i think it works the same way as the general jewish
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community of families that are interfaced, you have families that may have adopted somebody, you have families where they might be jewish adjacent. families that might be generationally jewish overtime, each expression of a jewish family include people of color. families in the u.s. were people of color were african- american, mono racial meaning both parents are african- american, and their judaism goes back generation after generation in the u.s. the last three or five years, and that living the focused observant jewish life, then you have some families just like the rest of the jewish community and the uso identify strongly as it jewish and do-nothing religious, nothing in the spiritual rights, but for their jewish identity might be cultural, it might be based on
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that might fall out of what somebody might to be was a very religious life and still they are jewish. the same way we see people come into jewish life across the jewish community in different ways we see that among people of color. and another thumbtack i want to put in there is when jewish people of color -- color, because people challenge it based on our identity or how they perceive our identities very often jews of color know a tremendous amount of torah and techs they become very absorbent, they tend to be very committed and focused in the jewish community in ways sometimes we don't see with the general jewish community. >> fascinated glitter that we come to the end of our time together. i just want to ask you a big question in a moment which is where do you want us to be in 10 years? >> where i want is to be as i want is to comfortably understand ourselves is multiracial. i want us to comfortably embrace the idea that when we look into jewish space we should be seeing people of
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color, and i want us to be not only comfortable with i want us to be authentically part of a dynamic where we understand racists complicated, racism is real, in general our jewish community is being attacked, and really committed to enabling every jew to have access to torah, i want that to be who we are. >> thank you so much for joining us, have a wonderful day.
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