Queer Jews of Color: We Belong

It is powerful to see yourself reflected in history, in a story, or even in a room. That power is a profound sense of comfort, knowing that you are not alone, there are others like you. It is a feeling of belonging.

Too often as a queer Jew of color I have felt alone: my people absent from Hebrew school lessons, traditions, and communal practice. I have grown to expect that I will be the only queer Jew of color at services or at any other Jewish social gathering. And, despite being welcomed in word time and time again, I have struggled to feel like I belong. What I needed was to know that I was not the only one. I longed to feel at home in a Jewish community I so desperately wanted to call mine.

READ: Jewish&, The Blog of Be’chol Lashon, which gives voice to the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience.

I turned to the Internet, Googling to find pieces of myself reflected in others. I found it easy to find LGBT Jews or to find Jews of color, there were even whole organizations working to support these identities.

But, finding people at the cross-section, both queer and of color proved to be a challenging task. Eventually, I found a few. My search led me to Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, Michael Twitty, Y-Love and more. It took hours of Googling to feel like maybe just maybe Judaism could hold me. I had finally found my nugget of hope.

My personal googling project became bigger when I realized that likely I wasn’t the only one on a mad Google hunt. This needed to be easier for all of us. No Jew should need to spend hours on the Internet to feel like they might belong. So, I reached out to the Jewish Multiracial Network and proposed a collaboration to pull together all the resources we could find for LGBTQ Jews of color to make that search just a little easier.

Our work putting together this resource list led me to some of my now-favorite resources like an Eli Talk given by Ilana Kaufman and the writing of Aurora Levins Morales. That project is almost complete and although our list is not super long, I could not be more proud to provide a mirror to other queer Jews of color.