Jewish Women of Color Open Letter

As Jewish women of color, we support the unity principles of the Women’s March and believe that this is the time for our communities to affirm together that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.

As Jewish women of color, we value our multi-racial, multi-ethnic, cross-classed, multi-gendered, differently observant, differently abled, and intergenerational community of women as powerful. Our liberation is tied to the liberation of all our sisters and siblings and to our capacity to listen, learn, grow and take action together.

Jews of Color, and Jewish Women of Color in particular, have been organizing and taking action in US social justice movements since the beginning, and are not seen. National conversations and debates that have been sparked between organizers of color and White Jewish institutions have mostly silenced and made invisible the work of Jews of Color who have been putting their bodies and hearts on the line in this work for many years.

Among Jewish women of color, commitment to Black Jewish Women means addressing Anti-Black Racism, in Jewish communities and beyond. Commitment to all Jewish women means not making the voices and leadership of Jewish women of color additive but an integrated and valued part of what Jewish social justice leadership means.

Jewish women of color exist in our own power. We have no need to be re-translated, talked over, fetishized or “signed up for service” by the communities to which we belong. We have and will continue to navigate as leaders within communities that are willing to do the work of embracing the entire breadth of our identities, experiences, commitments and values. It is these commitments and values that link us together across a spectrum of diverse entry points to varying needs for justice. We are impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues and fully embrace that our collective efforts for justice need not be monolithic or prescriptive to be effective.

Jewish Women of Color reject any assertion that there is more anti-Semitism in African-American communities than in others and any belief that African-American leaders, and women specifically, should be singled out for particular attention toward addressing the impacts of the growing presence of anti-Semitism in our world. Of the 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents identified by the Anti-Defamation League in 2017, less than a handful of these incidents were perpetrated by African Americans or other people of color. As White nationalists have historically and presently organized themselves against Jews, we have not experienced communities of color organizing themselves to target our Jewish community.

As Jewish women of color, we are committed to and united with our Jewish family and allies in fighting the growing threat of white supremacist and white nationalist violence in our country AND we are clear that this threat is not coming chiefly from our allies in the social justice movements we navigate. Anti-Semitism within our movement remains a family problem that must be addressed.

Anti-Semitism exists in all communities, as does racism, sexism, homophobia and a host of other oppressions that it must be our goal as a society to eradicate. One role of anti-Semitism has been to scapegoat Jews by centering us as the buffer between those with more privilege and those without. Consequently, in many communities, including in communities of color (that are our families and siblings) “Jews” are often seen as the face of power and a distorted sense of who the Jewish people are and who Jews of Color are has developed to our detriment. As Jewish women of color who live at the intersection of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism, and who are committed to standing against white supremacy, patriarchy and religious oppression in all its forms, we will play an integral role in the healing and unification of our communities and in the work of securing greater justice and freedom for us all.

Jewish women of Color embrace our wisdom, self-expression, loving intentionality, creativity, humor, and essential roles in organizing spaces and in movement leadership. We resist the role of “translators” and invite the depth and breadth of our families and allies to join us in “Beloved Community” where critical thinking, knowledge sharing and popular education live alongside commitments to regular check-ins, restorative justice principles and the practice of healing and accountability. We are committed to learning from our elders and our history of activism. We resist perfectionism as a leadership model and firmly reject disposability as an option. We are not here to throw any of our leaders away.

As members of pan-ethnic, multicultural, multiracial and multi-gendered communities and families across the US and beyond, we believe that all Jewish women, including the privileged segment of our Jewish family who are affluent, heterosexual, cisgendered and White, have an equal stake in ending the gender oppressions that the Women’s March protests. We call into solidarity with us all of our Jewish siblings to commit to ending the sexual harassment and assault, the pay inequities and glass ceilings that too many of us experience in Jewish camps, schools, synagogues and communal institutions. We call into solidarity with us all who are currently vested in ending the violence of women being routinely interrupted while they speak, of having their words and ideas appropriated, of having intrusive comments on their appearance and clothing or unwanted touching visited upon them in Jewish spaces. Although Jews of Color are currently not represented in large numbers across what is now a majority White, male institutional fabric and representation of Jewish leadership, as Jewish women of color, we too stand against these injustices and invite all Jews to get free alongside us.

As is currently stated, the world the Women’s March seeks to build is one “free from anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism and all forms of social violence. It is rooted in a vision of a world where all women- including Black women, Jewish women, lesbian, queer, bi and trans women, Muslim women, poor women, immigrant women, indigenous women and disabled women- are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.” We affirm this vision as iterative. We welcome Jewish women, and all groups who have experienced the pain of not being fully seen and held by our movement work, to actively participate in building liberatory structures and processes that include us and welcome us to ask for and get what we need to be free.

As the Women’s March continues to support policy changes that will mitigate suffering and positively shape our future, we stand with women who are involved in the criminal injustice system. We stand with women who are refugees and immigrants due to wars, who are subjugated by xenophobic laws and economic exploitation. We stand with Indigenous women who refuse to be ignored and lift up #MMIW. We stand for environmental justice, which disproportionately impacts poor women of color. We stand for reproductive justice as well as gender justice.

We stand and will be marching with the Women’s March on January 19, 2019. We hope you will join us!

Yavilah McCoy

Shahanna McKinney Baldon

Rachel Faulkner

Rakel Joseph

Graie Hagans

Oraneet Shikmah Orevi

Shoshana A Brown

Tonda Case

Kai Gardner Mishlove

Anike

Rachel Sumekh

Aaron Chandler

Enzi Tanner

Nate Looney

Tova Ztaoui

Molly rae bok

Hirut

Sharon Gibson Morgan

Jared Jackson

Ginna Green

Dena Robinson

Natalie Bauman

Dr. Tarece L Johnson

Yehudah Webster

Sasha King

Gab Sussman

Rebekkah Scharf

Sarah Waisvisz

Maxine McKinney de Royston

Wynette

Allison Wagreich

Ruby Velez

Mollie Feldman-Adams

Keyanna Silverman-Maddox

Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs

Liz Kleinrock

Nolwazi Monique LaRue Powell

Candice Markowitz

Sheba McCants

Iden Campbell

Adrienne Timmons

Dora Chen

Kat Macias

Jessica Kingston

Atarah McCoy

Marisa Schwartz

Leili Herlinda Davari

Amani Hayes-Messinger

Courtney Parker West

Robin Altman

Helena Cohen

Yelitza Leon

Tikvah Womack

Sara Bobkoff

Lena Sclove

Rachel Nilson Ralston

Michal David

Lauren Fine

Tamara Gardner

Barbara Stern

Denise Wolferman

Heidi E Senior

Sukanya Rai-Sharma

S I Atias

Alexis Ortiz

Sarah Greenhalgh

YM Carrington

Tali David

Orchideh Raisdanai

Cole Parke

Erica Walker

Chase Carter

Evan Traylor

Valeria Epshteyn

Tiferet Berenbaum

Debbie Rabinovitz

Samara Kaufman

Samiah Fulcher

Josh Bloom

Madison Slobin

Kavitha Kasargod-Staub

Vanessa Levine

Chavon Watt

Letitia Gomez

Leon Potik

Kelly Whitehead

Dr. Tamu Nolfo

Ilana Kaufman

Rachel Luce-Hitt

Meytal Russo

Ellen RIfkin

Jessica Valoris

Lesley wolf

Miriam Messinger

Tori Burstein

Sonia Rosen

tallie ben daniel

Tiffany Harris

Rafael Shimunov

Donelle Johnson

Ro Johnson

Noemi Giszpenc

Danielle Diuguid

Rachel W.

Gabriella Sanchez Stern

Tae Phoenix

Shifra Bronznick

Rae Axner

Genevieve Carr

Aya Yamamoto

Joha Mateo VanOsten

Idit Klein

Sarit Cantor

Claire Diamond

Emma Alabaster

Liddie Collins-Siegrist

Rebecca Subar

Rachel Scott

Leo Ferguson

Rachel Lerman

Sara Goldberg

Tamar Shirabi

Danit Osborn

Dahlia Goldenberg

Ama Maria Guerrero

Beth Sandweiss

Martha Gray

Sarah Barasch

Cheryl Cook

Jody Rabhan

Tamara Cohen

Marya Axner

Jeff Treistman

Mikki Pugh

Amanda Lindner

Pippi Kessler

Megan Pamela Ruth Madison

Aaren Alpert

Kendra Watkins

Merissa Nathan Gerson

Rebecca Katz

Haftm

Anjelica N Ruiz

Ellen Menhauser

Amy Mandel

Micah

Tayler Sales

Dev Nolly

Aiden Orly

Lauren Berry-Kagan

Rebecca Lesses

Laura Horwitz

Judith Rosenbaum

Rachel Gildiner

Andria Danine Simckes

Debra Taube

Rachel Weinstein

Lila Berman

Laura Levitt

Caryn Aviv

Mollie Feldman

Sheila Katz

Barbara Colton

Rosa Blumenfeld

Marni Rothman

Brandon

Anne Greenwald

Jon Marker

April Baskin

Cam Owen

Maxine McKinney De Royston

Tallie ben daniel

Ro Johnson

Daniel Kaplan

Ali

Michele Burger

Marissa Rosen

Chaia Beckerman

Debra Robbin

Josh Kanter

María J. Torres-López

Lisa Danetz

Art Serotoff

Hannah Sassaman

Leslie Brown

Etai Rogers-Fett

Deitra Reiser

Vic Rosenthal

Rebecca Mather

Elena Izaksonas

Amy Horowitz

Carolyn L. Karcher

Fran Adams

Stephanie E. Reich

Emily Adcock

Mimi Arbeit

Carly Margolis

Belinda Smith

Cam Owen

lisa dee port white

Elizabeth Lovinger

Tasha Kaminsky

Lizzie Horne

katrina castillo

Jennifer Sartori

Hannah Recht

Joanna Silver

Nataly Antar

Jacob Friedman

Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman

Alyssa Rubin

Rebecca Kirzner

Zoh Lev

gail brown

Diana Clarke

Daniel Kaplan

Art Serotoff

Hannah Sassaman

Leslie Brown

Rebecca Pierce

Emily

P Fraterdeus

Jessica de Koninck

Marie Walker

Reva Rubenstein

Cady Landa

Rhonda HorwitzRomano

Neil Penn MFT

Katherine Wright

Dr. Anna V. Wilson

Sandra Faiman-Silva

ron field

Paula Berinstein

Kathe Garbrick

Berenice Fisher

Stacie Chaiken

Debra Bass

Andrea Jacobs

Sarah Anne Minkin

Barbara C. Johnson

Laurel Kaish

Joanna Ware

David Jaffe

Michelle Weiser

Ellen Lippmann

Lauren Goldberg

Robin Jacobs

Hayyim Feldman

Alana Eichner

Chelsea Cross

Jnana Konjit Martin

Laurie Funaroff

Constantin Negrau

Sarah Langer

Lisa Grant

Jamie Krashna

Cheryl Zimmerman

Amelia Mae Paradise

Maria Pulzetti

Helen Bennett

Tamara Fish

Rebecca Ennen

Lin Kaatz Chary

Mallory Rubin

Lauren Spokane

Ed Goldman

Maria

Daniel Jerome

Kadijah Spence

Peter Haugen

claudia horwitz

Cole Krawitz

Barbara Breitman

Deborah Gerson

Shelly Weiss

Wilbur Bryant II / Yitzchak Adam

Ann Elizabeth Rubin

Tova Ztaoui

Eliana Kaya

Elinor Nathanson

Dr. Susan Caswell

Traci Marx

CLERGY

Rabbi Mira Rivera

Rabbi Michael Adam Latz

Rav Kohenet Taya Shere

Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman

Rabbi Salem Pearce

Kohenet Rebekah Erev

Chaplain Orev Reena Katz haKohenet

Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife

Rabbi Sara Luria

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann

Shoshana Jedwab

Rav Kohenet Jill Hammer

Rabbi David Basior

Sabrina Sojourner

Yocheved Angelique Arroyo

Koach Baruch Frazier

Katheryn Silverstein

Ella Gluckman

Bekah Starr

Batya Diamond

Dori Midnight

ORGANIZATIONS

Black Yids Matter (BYM)

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)

And 38 other Jews of Color and Allies

Over 330 signatures overall.