Who Counts? Race and the Jewish Future

Pointing to the many times in Bamidbar that Jews are counted, Ilana Kaufman explores the question: Who is counted? Being counted matters because to be counted is an affirmation of belonging; being counted provides context and identity. Using National census and Jewish studies data, Kaufman shows that Jews of Color are already a substantial percentage of the Jewish population. Yet, because of institutional racism and microaggressions from white Jews, synagogues and Jewish organizations alienate and turn away Jews of Color. Kaufman argues that racism hurts the entire Jewish community and urges us to implement a continental strategic plan in order to begin building an inclusive community reflective of the ethnic and racial diversity of the Jewish people.

Ilana has twenty years of leadership, community building and organizational development experience. She serves as a strategic thought partner to Jewish and secular organizations working on issues of equity and justice, and sits on Bend the Arc's Regional Council. Ilana works with JCRC--San Francisco as a Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Director, and prior to that appointment was a program officer at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. She has a Master's Degree in Educational Pedagogy from Mills College, and is energized by complex problems with solutions that require innovative designs. Ilana has been featured in the Jewish Times of America and the J Weekly, and has published articles in eJewish Philanthropy, The Foundation Review and Independent School Magazine. Ilana is also an urban farmer with a passion for creating bee and butterfly habitats that are edible and, excited to craft all things fermented, frozen, distilled and leavened, leads a secret life as a creator of culinary goodness.

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