FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 21, 2020
More than 2,500 Jews affirm #JOCsCount in response to flawed assertions to be published in American Jewish Year Book
Jewish community soundly opposes analysis that puts more emphasis on numerical calculations than on communal values
Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Argument Over Tallying U.S. Jews of Color Erupts — Haaretz
By Allison Kaplan Sommer
Debate sparked after Reform Movement website publishes article on how Jewish community can support Jews of color affected by pandemic. Response article argues it’s problematic to define ‘Jews of color’
“The One Who Does Not Know How to Ask” — eJewishPhilanthropy
By Ari Y Kelman
I found myself thinking about the fourth child – the one who does not know how to ask – when I was reading Ira Sheskin and Arnie Dashefsky’s May 17th article entitled “How Many Jews of Color Are There?” In the title, they ask a good question. It is a question that my colleagues and I tried to answer with the support of the Field-Building initiative, whose findings we published in a report called “Counting Inconsistencies.”
As the title of our report indicates, we discovered that we could not answer the question. It turns out that if you scan American Jewish population surveys, you find significant and systematic inconsistencies in the ways that they inquire about the racial and ethnic identities of American Jews. Surveys were inconsistent in how they asked about Ashkenazi, Sepharadi, and Mizrahi identities, in their application of national origin and ethnicity, and in the language they used to ask about ethnic and racial identity ….
To accurately count Jews of color, we need to radically change our assumptions about Jews — JTA
By Marc Dollinger
Two summers ago, I published an academic book about blacks and Jews that did not include a single black Jew in the narrative. Ilana Kaufman, founder and president of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, encouraged me to open my eyes to my own implicit assumptions about Jews, race, power and privilege.
Specifically, she asked me to walk through each chapter of the book and rethink its thesis through the eyes of a black Jew. Instead of viewing history through the lens of defining “Americanism” (i.e. what makes us Jewish vs. what makes us American), she suggested viewing those same historical events through a racial lens.
When I took her advice, the very foundations of my argument gave way to a much more complex, nuanced and accurate analysis of American Jews and race relations.
“The issue is not just that Jews of Color are rarely accurately counted, but that our Jewish community access, inclusion, and value could hang in the balance of poor research and a pernicious premise. This is a dangerous and slippery slope that harms JOCs and our entire Jewish community.”