If you are a Jew of diverse origins (AKA: not Ashkenazi), you probably have heard of Be’Chol Lashon, hebrew for “In Every Tongue.” It is an organization dedicated to advocating for the diversity and growth of the Jewish people. Its Mission consists of growing and strengthening the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness. I have been following them on various social networks since my Jewish discovery in 2011. A few weeks back, I got an e-mail from the organization about a Birthright Israel trip for diverse Jews. My ears perked up, eyes got big, and forgot what I was doing in that moment. My full attention refocused on this Israel trip for diverse young people. The only caveat is the age criteria; 18-26 year olds only, and I discovered my “Jewishness” at 29. Now it is 2014, do the math, and I’m way over the maximum age according to Birthright’s rules.
Undeterred, I sent an e-mail to Lindsey Newman, program coordinator for the trip. I explained by situation, shared this blog and asked some advice about my situation. After all, it is unfair to impose an age limit on someone who discovered Judaism at a later age. Lindsey wrote back and suggested I email Birthright directly; as they do grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. She also shared Be’Chol Lashon’s blog and asked if I would be interested in contributing a piece. The blog is hosted on MyJewishLearning, a leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. I responded with an affirmative yes and Lindsey connected with Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder to work out the logistics. Rabbi Ruth is Be’Chol Lashon’s Rabbi-in-Residence and is based in San Francisco, California. I have been following her on Twitter for almost 3 years and reached out when I was researching Judaism sects. My next step is to brainstorm an interesting and engaging topic.
I sent Birthright a message explaining my unique situation and ask for their advise on the diverse Jews Israel trip. It is rare and difficult to meet “diverse Jews” in Asia. This trip would be a great way to know other Jews in my situation-while seeing and experiencing the beautiful Israel. It’ll also be a great way to expand my knowledge of Jewish people’s diversity, outside of China and Asia. I’m awaiting a response from Birthright and will keep you all posted on my progress.
In other news, I have finished my Masters of Arts in China Studies. I am job hunting in Hong Kong while freelancing for various small businesses. So glad to be free of school! It feels so good to finish writing research papers and essays. I have realized that I have no interest in being a scholar–writing academic papers aren’t really my thing. My core skills are marketing, communications, and consulting. Teaching, writing, and editing round out the top of my interest list.
I will finished here. Will keep you all posted on my progress. I’m sure all will work out alright, G-d willing. Until next time.