In this Conversation on Race, Ilana Kaufman, executive director of the Jews of Color Initiative shares her experience and perspective as an African-American Jew.
Her work has been featured in books on Black Power, Jewish politics, and moral resistance, and spiritual authority. She’s been featured in “The New York Times” and has published articles in the “The Forward”, “Jewish Philosophy”, and the “Foundation Review”.
- The Jews of Color Initiative – was founded three years ago to create some infrastructure for Jews of Color inside the Jewish community. “We wanted to answer the questions how do we respond as Jews of Color, and how do we center Jews of color and all of our conversations?”
- Results of research and survey to count Jews of Color in the US
- Focus on Jewish people who self-identify as Jews of Color
- The impact of racism outside the Jewish community and within the Jewish community from white Jewish people
- How you can be a white Jew and be racist even having been oppressed as a Jewish person
- One oppression doesn’t cancel out the other
- The complex makeup of the Jewish community, and the diversity of Jewish people in the US and the world
- Why everyone’s liberation is tied together
- How the US invented the concept of whiteness to enslave, and like forcing people into labor who were Black and Brown, Indigenous, Asian in this country
- Different perspectives on race, racism, Israel, colonialism, amongst Jewish people based on age and direct relationship to the holocaust
- How the trauma of the holocaust is passed down and its impact on safety and behavior
- The younger generations of Jewish people are more and more racially diverse
- How the Black Power movement was the foundation for the movement to free Soviet Jews
- Jews of Color have to deal with racism amongst white Jews and both racism and antisemitism outside the Jewish community
About Ilana Kaufman
Ilana Kaufman is the Director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, a national project housed at the Leichtag Foundation. The initiative, inspired by a team of racially diverse Jewish community leaders and motivated funders, informed by racial equity and justice, and anchored by the voices and experience of Jews of Color is focused on grant making, research and field building, and community education. As a guest on NPR’s Code Switch, with pieces featured in eJewish Philanthropy and The Foundation Review, and an Eli Talk titled Who Counts, Race and the Jewish Future with 16,000 views, Ilana is passionate about all things at the intersection of Jewish Community/Racial Justice/Jews of Color/Education/Philanthropy. Prior to joining the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative Ilana was the Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Director, East Bay for the San Francisco, Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council. Ilana, a Schusterman Fellow who is always searching Jewish Text for discussion of equity and justice received her B.A. in Sociology from California State University-Humboldt, and her M.A. in Educational Pedagogy from Mills College.