Jared Jackson, Jews in ALL Hues-Philadelphia, PA
Jews in ALL Hues (JIAH) is an education and advocacy organization that supports multiple-heritage Jews and Jews of Color. Our goal is to build a future for the Jewish people where intersectional diversity and dignity are normative.
Our leadership is based on three specific things:
- Hachnasat Orchim: The Jewish value of welcoming others, is central to JIAH’s workshops, training and professional consultation work with Jewish leaders and communities. In our work to create inclusive spaces for multi-heritage Jews, our training sessions provide the tools that enable Jewish leaders and communities to understand the best ways to practice the value of Hachnasat Orchim— welcoming Jews of all backgrounds. JIAH helps Jewish communities recognize the ways that they can bring Jews of all hues into an inclusive and warm environment.
- Rabbi Tarfon in Pirkei Avot: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Progress can be challenging. We cannot single-handedly create an inclusive Jewish environment in one day, one week, one month. Rabbi Tarfon teaches us that while we may not be able to impact every community or welcome every Jew, we must continue to try. This Jewish wisdom reminds communities that JIAH strives toward the betterment of our world, especially when the work is difficult. We must never desist from this work.
- One of the ten miracles performed in the First Temple was that no matter how many people squeezed in to pray, there was enough room for every person to be comfortable. Welcoming more people into communities doesn’tpush others out. Diversity strengthens communities and adds new perspectives, building bridges into different aspects of Judaism. Like the First Temple, Jewish communities should have enough room for everyone. JIAH helps these communities integrate diverse Jewish populations effectively with love.
Our ability to approach individuals with dignity, create spaces where one can just be, and educate the broader Jewish people have attracted Jews from every background. We honestly believe that each individual holds the ability to connect beyond rhetorical boundaries. It’s time we, as a people, get back into the practice of meeting our family as they (we) are.
Anike Tourse, Mixed Operations
Mixed Operations (MO) is a production company of mixed people producing motion picture films, television and web series that appeal to diverse audiences and explore social justice themes. Mixed Operations is led by Jewish woman of Color, Anike Tourse, and operates in partnership between multicultural artists, activists and community members. Mixed Operations works towards expanding representation for Jews of Color, both in front of and behind the camera and specifically in creating stories around the Jew of Color experience.
Our current feature film project is America’s Family, a narrative feature film of the five stories of one family separated by one border on their journey to reunite. As one of the stories in America’s Family unfolds, Salvadoran patriarch and world class chef, Jorge Mario Diaz, unexpectedly seeks sanctuary in a Reform synagogue when ICE raids his home on Thanksgiving. As Jorge builds a relationship with the Sephardic, Portuguese rabbi, he also becomes a part of the congregation grappling with what “welcoming the stranger” really means. Jorge lives at the synagogue for several months while his American born son (who is also the family attorney) works on adjusting his immigration status. While in sanctuary, Jorge (and his five-star catering company) caters the Bat Mitzvah for one of the temple members as his contribution to the community. All of this takes on an even deeper meaning when, through conversations with the rabbi, Jorge discovers that he may be a descendant of Spanish Jews forced into Catholic conversion and thus he himself may have Jewish heritage.
America’s Family is a docudrama, a feature narrative inspired by real people and real events and is a collaboration between professional artists, activists, and community members. We will film most of Jorge’s story at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills in conjunction with the congregation. We believe this will be an opportunity for this community to experience civic engagement by way of communal creative expression, a chance for the synagogue to engage with its values of diversity and inclusion and, specifically, the representation of Jews of Color, and to employ production as an extension of the temple’s immigrant and refugee support work. We are also excited for temple members to connect with mixed status and deportee families and to directly contribute to the film education that supports them.
Mixed Operations film projects in development include a short documentary film, JOC: A People and a Movement which provides a brief history of Jews of Color in America and the Jews of Color Movement worldwide. Another project in development is an untitled short narrative film based on the experience of Jewish educator and social justice leader, Yehudah Webster, who was accosted by Chabad community members and accused of stealing a Torah.
As women filmmakers of Color often lack access and visibility, in our company there is a strong emphasis on mentorship and representation, both in front of and behind the camera. Our production company members and supporters are most compelled by our diverse storytelling. It is also critically important to us that diverse, multicultural people are at the helm of our projects, involved in key decision making and given a great deal of freedom and support to create their best work.