Congregation Or Ami, like many other Reform Jewish congregations, celebrates that Judaism has always been mosaic, a beautiful collection of different colored and shaped pieces. We are also "Mosaic" in that we connect back to Moses, a Hebrew child, raised by Egyptians, who married a non-Jewish woman of color and became the leader of his people.
Some couples that begin with two individuals from different backgrounds need to integrate separate lives into one family. Some families adopting a child from a different culture look to celebrate all parts of the child’s mosaic. Individual Jews, raised in multicultural homes, strive to be accepted as Jews, no questions asked. Remember: you are not alone. Congregation Or Ami, our Rabbis Paul Kipnes and Julia Weisz, and Cantor Doug Cotler and our Reform Jewish movement, welcome you.
How do we talk about ourselves when the language we have is too narrow and confining, like outdated racial categories on a census form? How do we describe a group for which there is no group label?
We must use what is admittedly inadequate language: “Jews of color,” “diverse Jews,” “racially and ethnically diverse Jews.” All of these terms refer to those who are in currently distinct subcultures from the majority Jewish community in the United States. Many people who fall into this category may not define themselves as “people of color” or as “Chinese, Vietnamese or Indian Jews,” yet many in the mainstream view them as being “other.” At Congregation Or Ami, we celebrate you as a Jew, no matter whatever name you call yourself by these people, whatever your origins and culture, whatever your skin tone or eye-shape, whatever your path to Judaism. You (and sometimes your family) are Jews, and we welcome you!
You may be especially interested in our Mishpacha Family Alternative Learning Program. (Mishpacha means "family" in Hebrew.) An alternative to our wonderful Monday-Wednesday drop-off Religious School, our Mishpacha program allows parents and children to study together twice monthly on Sunday mornings. Often adults spend time alone with Rabbi Kipnes while children learn in multi-grade groupings with our fine faculty. Everyone learns the same material at age-appropriate levels. Then parents and children interact through projects, games, trials and round robin activities to explore the beauty of Judaism. This program is especially helpful for multicultural/multiethnic/multiracial families as you seek to learn more about being Jewish and figure out how to support your Jewish child(ren)’s spiritual education.