30 April 2009

San Francisco: Racially, ethnically diverse Jews to meet, May 1-4

The changing face of Judaism - which will certainly impact Jewish family history and genealogy - will be represented by a meeting of racially and ethnically diverse Jews, May 1-4, in San Francisco. The meeting will discuss the role of diverse Jews in shaping Jewish life around the world.

According to the organizers, the conference will tackle tough issues, including how race plays a role in defining how Jews are perceived and how they see themselves.

Jewish leaders, representing African American, Asian, Latino and African communities, and coming from Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Portugal, India, the US and elsewhere will meet at a conference organized by Be'chol Lashon ('in every tongue," Hebrew).

Speakers include Rabbi Capers Funnye of Chicago - about whom Tracing the Tribe has previously written; Rabbi Alyssa Stanton, who will become the first African American woman rabbi in the world on June 6; Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, the first black rabbi from sub-Saharan Africa to be ordained from an American rabbinic school; and Rebecca Walker, renowned author of "Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self."
"We represent the face of Judaism as it has always been", said Rabbi Funnye, "people of many colors, ethnic backgrounds, and nationalities. We have a special role in building bridges to people over all the world."
A key topic will be how to help people convert to Judaism, if they wish to.
Rabbi Sizomu from Uganda recently convened a rabbinic court (beit din) in Uganda that supervised the conversion of over 250 Africans from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Do visit the Be'chol Lashon website, to explore the organization's resources, events and the many research projects in which it participates, including several for Conversos/Bnai Anousim and other communities.

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