Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
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. Although our list is not super long, I could not be more proud to provide a mirror to other queer Jews of color.
And to say to all who have been searching: We belong. You and I are both here, and we deserve a community that we see ourselves in and that sees us for the tremendous beauty and strength that we bring. This is for you.
This blog post was originally shared on January 15, 2016. Click here to view the list of resources Kat created for this project and collaboration!