An African American Jew Journeys to Orthodoxy


Life is a journey for each of us. It’s full of twists and turns and sometimes things happen to us without us understanding the reason why. Both sides of my family came to Judaism from Christianity. My paternal grandfather began to learn more about Judaism after he already had children. He went to a Jewish book store and since there wasn’t a Rabbi at the time who was willing to teach him, he taught himself through books. Over time, he became very knowledgeable and began to teach other colored people about Judaism. He founded a congregation originally in Philadelphia called Adat Beyt Moshe, then moved the family to a small town called Ellwood, NJ outside of Hammonton. My mom, in her adulthood, started to feel that she wanted something more spiritually. She began attending various synagogues, learned more about Judaism, and eventually decided to pursue a conversion within the Conservative movement.

Posted on July 8, 2016

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Lessons Learned from Multicultural Jewish Asian Families


What does it mean to be Jewish and Asian? Amidst the complex conversations about race in America comes JewAsian, a groundbreaking book that explores Jewish Asian identity. What have authors and parent Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt learned about JewAsian multicultural identity? What lessons can parents learn? What might the Jewish community do to welcome JewAsians? Team Be’chol Lashon talked to the husband/wife team to find out!

Posted on June 28, 2016

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Race: Pushing Myself & the Jewish Community


“Everyone has a different tolerance for complexity.” This is a concept that was introduced to me in anticipation of adopting my son in 1997, and it has stuck with me over the years. Tolerance for complexity is not only a predisposition towards the way one approaches life, but is also ideally constantly evolving. There is accommodating the change that happens whether we want it to or not, and then there’s the change that we actively seek in order to achieve our goals and make the world a better place.

Posted on June 22, 2016

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Reimagining A Holocaust Classic


Music and Judaism go hand in hand. Every Shabbat service, lifecycle event, Jewish holiday or Israeli holiday has a specific song or melody that relates to that special day. “A Walk to Caesarea,” commonly known as, “Eli Eli”(“My God, My God”) written by Hannah Senesh and composed by David Zahavi is one of the main Jewish songs relating to Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoah).

Posted on June 14, 2016

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Greek Burekas, A Treat at Shavuot or Year-Round


The Shavuot holiday is upon us. We celebrate our becoming a people committed to living the gift of receiving and living Torah. Shavuot also marks the spring harvest season. Growing up, I recall marking the holiday with ‘first fruits’ of the season. We now share the tradition of serving dairy foods as part of the holiday festivities.

Posted on June 8, 2016

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When Counselors Go To Camp


Where do seasoned camp veterans go to learn more about camp? Why camp, of course! Camp Be’chol Lashon is the only majority multiracial Jewish camp in the world and more intimate than other Jewish camps but last week, Camp Be’chol Lashon (CBL) staffers Michael DeYoung (right) and Jonah Tobin (left with Rabbi Avi Orlow) attended the Foundation for Jewish Camping’s Cornerstone Seminar to be with hundreds of other camping professionals. We caught up with Jonah to hear about his experience and what he is taking back to CBL this summer –there are still spots available if you want to join us!

Posted on May 31, 2016

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