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Meet Be’chol Lashon Board Member Amy Albertson

Amy joined the board of Be'chol Lashon in 2022, and her leadership has already been invaluable to the organization. May’s celebration of both Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month and Jewish heritage month is also a celebration of Amy’s Asian and Jewish identities.

Amy’s own Jewish-and-ness has been central to her identity throughout her life. Growing up in a mixed family in Sacramento, CA, she felt fortunate to grow up with peers who were also from mixed families. It wasn’t until college that she realized how unique it was to be able to say she was Chinese and Jewish, and to have holding multiple identities be something she had in common with other people. In college,  Amy started an identity journey of deeply exploring what her Jewishness meant to her. Inspired to continue to explore her Jewishness after graduation, Amy headed to Tel Aviv for a six-month internship. After a brief visit back to America, she then made Aliyah to Israel, where she would live for the next six years.

Amy Albertson post 2 Jerusalem was Amy’s home for her first three years in Israel, followed by three years in Tel Aviv. Israel made her a “better Jewish human” in many ways, she shared. While she does not consider herself religious, she was able to live alongside people in Jerusalem who, as she describes, were living their Jewishness through the letter of Jewish law, and who shared with her immense Jewish knowledge. In Tel Aviv Amy was around people who she describes as living more in a “Jewish spirit”-Jewish people living in a Jewish state, but who were living Jewish culturally, and in a different way than through religion.  Amy’s time in Israel also made her realize the subtle ways that her Asian identity held special significance for her, from cravings for good Asian food to her desire to have rice with every meal like she did growing up. Amy’s time in Israel helped in the continued shaping of her Jewish and Asian identities in ways that she would carry with her when she returned to America.

While she was in Israel, Amy started an Instagram account called “The Asian Israeli.” Through her page she posted about what life was like living in Israel. She’d share her favorite new places to eat,  break down elections in English, and give people a peek into her daily life. When she moved back to America during the pandemic, and after escalations in Israel in May of 2021, Amy’s social media took on more of a focus on Jewish pride. She noticed that many people on social media were only vocal in moments of reaction-when there was a rise in anti-semitism, or during a particularly challenging moment in Israel. She felt that being reactionary on social media in this way, “can make your Jewishness feel like a burden. Also, to the outside, if you have no exposure to Jewish people except when there is an issue, that can become a negative association.” Amy wanted to make an intentional shift in proactively expressing the joy, pride, and many aspects of being Jewish, so she created a new account, @theamyalbertson, that does just that.

Amy Albertson post 3 Just as Amy’s social media celebrates the joy, pride and multiple aspects of being Jewish, Be’chol Lashon’s commitment to celebrating the range of experiences of Jews of Color was something Amy found special about the organization.  When asked why she joined the board, Amy loved the idea of an organization dedicated to celebrating Jewish-and-ness. She also appreciated that Be’chol Lashon offered spaces like Camp Be’chol Lashon and resources for families. She shared that, “sometimes as JOCs we don’t get the same experience as other Jews because of the extra layer of otherness we feel. So creating environments and opportunities where  you don’t have to feel tokenized, and where everyone is coming with an understanding of what it means to be Jewish-and is incredible.” Increasing awareness and understanding of the Jews of Color is a major motivation in Amy’s life.

                Through her social media, speaking engagements and activism, Amy expresses how it is incredibly important for the Jewish community, and the whole world to know that Jews come in many colors. She also cares deeply about making sure that people recognize that Jews of Color, regardless of how they came to  Judaism, are more than  Jewish enough. While this is one of the topics that Amy speaks about, she is also passionate about leading workshops that are centered around helping people be proudly Jewish, especially as a way of combating antisemitism.

Amy is excited to join Be’chol Lashon’s Speakers Bureau. Organizations are invited to learn from Amy through speaking engagements and workshops. Whether it’s visiting a hillel or a group of religious school students, Amy especially enjoys getting to speak with young people as they navigate their Jewish identity. She says that “many people have a nervousness around being Jewish ‘enough,’ or they might have been told that Judaism ‘wasn’t for them.’” Through sharing her own story, she helps people develop their own Jewish pride and feel empowered to speak up. Amy’s voice and leadership will continue to educate, empower, and uplift Jewish-and pride and joy.

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