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Tag : identity

April 20, 2020 by

Generation 1.5 •

Russian-Jewish-Americans—“Generation 1.5”—have their own particular identity issues. A unique adult Jewish learning program wants to empower them to explore this multilayered identity, and become leaders, volunteers, and philanthropists. Founded in 2015 by seven Russian-speaking Jews, the Jewish Parent Academy aims to build a Russian-Jewish-American community educated about its Jewish and Russian heritage, taking responsibility for its needs, giving back to the broader Jewish community, and building Russian-Jewish-American community connections.

jpacademy.org

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The Lilith Blog

February 24, 2020 by

You Are Your Name

You are your name. In India, where I’m living for seven months as a Fulbright scholar researching the relevance of archaeological relics today, I’m constantly reminded of this. 

“My daughter’s name is Zianna, it means bold and strong,” an acquaintance tells me.

“My name is Arushi, it means first ray of the sun,” says another new friend. 

“My name is Pormishra, a god. It means, a god,” says a waiter.

“I am Suraj, the sun,” says another. 

When I respond that my name is Elizabeth, Indians often say, “Oh, the queen. You are a queen.” Glad to dissuade them of any connection between my name and India’s former colonial rule, I tell people, “Actually, Elizabeth is a Hebrew name, it means house of God: beit means house; el means God.”

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July 9, 2019 by

An Unanticipated Birthright Effect

In college, a Jewish friend told me her experiences during an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel. I was impressed when I learned about Taglit-Birthright Israel and its mission to ensure that Jewish young adults have the opportunity to visit and learn about Israel. Last year, as a graduate student, I traveled there with several Jewish classmates. I was moved by—and somewhat envious of—their strong sense of shared identity and how the trip nurtured it.

I couldn’t forget that feeling. The PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” in which Henry Louis Gates Jr. investigated the family history of well-known Americans, was another reminder to me of how powerful it can be to learn about the genetic and cultural ties that connect us all to stories and communities much bigger than us. 

This year, I finally organized a trip for a group of my black friends and classmates and me to explore our own heritage. On that trip I learned to cook jollof, a rice dish that is a staple of West African diets. I learned about investment opportunities in Nigeria, including cashew farms and start-ups. I had my hair braided. I visited castles where enslaved people were kept in dungeons before they exited through the door of no return. We discussed Nigerian history over dinner and learned about the political turmoil and wealth of the country… I reflected on what life would be like if I lived in a nation where I was part of the dominant racial group.

MERCEDES BENT, “The Trip I Hope All African-Americans Can Take,” The New York Times, May 4, 2019.

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The Lilith Blog

June 29, 2018 by

Six Young, LGBTQ+ Jews Get Real About Identity

As Pride Month comes to an end, we asked six Jews who are also in the LGBTQIA+ community to speak about the interactions among their many identities. It is daunting to describe your identity in a few words, but the people featured below have done so with radical frankness —telling stories of coming out, coming to terms with identity, and joining together as a community, all of which define their lives Jewish, as LGBTQIA+, and at the intersections between the two.

Rochelle Malter

Rochelle, 22

I feel as though being Jewish prepared me for being queer. When I was a small child, I learned how to move through the world with my Jewish identity always present but semi-hidden, and how to gauge when was a safe time to reveal it. I hold my lesbian identity very similarly, though recently I have been struggling to find ways to make both more visible.

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