Embracing Racial Diversity in Our Synagogues: Who Are Jews of Color (JOC)

Who are Jews of Color (JOC)?

Jews of Color is a pan-ethnic term that is used to identify Jews whose family origins are originally in African, Asian or Latin-American countries. Jews of Color may identify as Black, Latino/a, Asian-American or of mixed heritage such as biracial or multi-racial.

Due to several factors, Mizrachi and Sephardi Jews from North African and Arab lands vary in whether or not they self-identify as “Jews of Color.”   
 

How do Jews of Color Join the Jewish Community?

Jews of Color join the Jewish community in a variety of ways, including: birth, transracial/transnational adoption, and conversion. In addition, the Jewish community includes many People of Color (POC) who join the Jewish community through family ties, i.e. through interfaith marriage, but who retain their own faith-identity.     


How Many Jews are Jews of Color?

The Steinhardt Social Research Institute’s American Jewish Population Project reports that 11% of Jews in the United States are Jews of Color. 

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As we reflect on the United States' Independence Day, I am mindful that democracy also takes commitment and practice. Democracy takes practice because it still is not accessible to all.

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June 14, 2022
On Sunday, June 12, 2022, congregants and clergy from over twenty Reform synagogues gathered at Temple Shalom of Newton for the launch of RAC-Massachusetts, the Religious Action Center’s ninth and newest statewide project. The room had an energy I haven’t felt since before the pandemic, reminding everyone there what can happen when we are in community.