The big action this week is focused on turkey, pie and football–as it should be. At Be’chol Lashon we are quietly and joyfully marking a year since the launch of Jewish&. On the one hand this anniversary feels like no big deal because in many ways these stories have always been there, the blog has just given them a different form. Sharing stories is one of the best ways we know about how to celebrate diversity and the richness of both the historic and contemporary Jewish experience. On the other hand, it has been a fabulous year with so many wonderful stories, contributors, readers and conversation. And for this and all that is to come, we are thankful.
We have learned much this past year.
Jews love to cook. Together we have cooked our way across the array of Jewish identities, from traditional Moroccan and Indian dishes to modern Chinese inspired challah and soup, Kosher Soul and Jewban soon to be classics. And we know we will have to do a reprise of global haroset round up again for Passover this year!
Families are families. A large portion of our posts relate to family experiences. Some of the themes are unique to 20% of American Jewish families that are not just a combo of white and Ashkenazi. Each story is as unique as the teller, some sweet some complex, some defiant. But by in large what comes across both in the content and comments from readers is the degree to which those unique stories of ethnically and racially diverse Jews often resonate as universal. When we share the specifics of who we are, we can see each other as fully human and part of the Jewish people.
We are a global people. From Mexico to Spain, Ethiopia to Chile and Hong Kong, there are threads that connect the Jewish experience across vast cultural and geographic divides. We have only begun to scratch the surface to tell the stories of Jewish life around the world. Look forward in the year to come for more stories of global Jewish life –including Be’chol Lashon’s Alternative Spring Break trip to Colombia with Vanderbilt Hillel and Taglit Birthright in the summer.
Look to the arts for the cutting edge of Jewish life. We have featured comedians, songwriters, authors, singers and poets. Their work sometimes recalls the past and at other times pushes us to think forward. For example, our own Lacey Schwartz’s personal documentary, Little White Lie, which we discussed here, has brought the conversation to public venues not used to talking about Judaism and race.
There are many stories yet to tell. There is no single voice of Jewish experience. We have had over 40 different authors write on a variety of topics from the personal to the big picture. There is no simple way to tightly summarize the range of voices and points of view that we have featured on Jewish&; diversity cannot be essentialized.
If you have a story to tell, be in touch. We are looking forward to a continuing to highlight the cultural and racial range of Jewish life in the year to come!