This is Latinx Heritage Month. Latinx Jews in the United States are a diverse group with many ways of engaging with their heritage and identity. To celebrate this diversity, Be’chol Lashon is sharing several short profiles of some of the many Latinx Jews who are American Jewish leaders. This profile of Ana Rodriguez-Katz is the third in the series, please check back here to read the others.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Ana Rodriguez-Katz is a Guatemalan-born Jewish Latina educator based in Atlanta. She has been working for PJ Library Atlanta for four years and is also a Sunday school teacher at Temple Sinai. She lives with her husband and daughter in the beautiful North Georgia mountains.
We know there is a great deal of diversity within the broad category of Latinx. How do you connect with Latinx heritage month?
I was born and raised in a Latino country, Guatemala. I moved from Guatemala to Atlanta by myself 14 years ago, leaving my family and friends in my birth country. I identify as Latina 100% since all my roots are in the Hispanic community. I cannot limit the celebration of my heritage to simply one month. I am a proud Jewish Latina and I celebrate my heritage every day.
There is some controversy over the use of the gender-neutral English term Latinx being used in Spanish. How do you prefer to identify? [editors note: Spanish like many other languages has a gendered ending; masculine (o)/ feminine (a). The x has become more common in the United States and is meant to be gender inclusive but does not necessarily reflect Spanish grammatical structures.]
I prefer Latina just because it is the most familiar to me. I also identify as Hispanic because I speak Spanish. Personally, the English term Latinx is something that makes no sense to me as a Spanish speaker.
What excites you about Jewish life today?
I love celebrating Jewish holidays, lighting candles on Shabbat, making challah with my family. I love to spend time with my daughter reading and learning about Jewish values, Israel, and Hebrew. We celebrate being Jewish at home and enjoy sharing it with others. I also love teaching young children about Judaism and inspiring them to be proud of being Jewish.