Our Stories

Jewish Latino Families Are Here

By Liora Brosbe, Jewish LearningWorks Senior Educator

At the end of March Jewish LearningWorks welcomed 23 educators to our 2-part virtual program,  Intersections: Latin Jewish and Multiethnic Family Engagement taught by Ariela Ronay-Jinich, MA.Ed., founder and Executive Director of Olamim.

While many educators have been rightly focused on the war in Israel, we have not wanted to lose sight of the importance of continuing to engage in conversation about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. We not only seek to incorporate best practices addressing the needs of the local, Jewish community, but also to expand our understanding of the intersectional nature of diversity.

During her workshop, Ariela reminded us that within the population of Latin Jews, there is diversity too! “Latin Jews are a diverse people of multiple heritages (racial, cultural, linguistic, national, religious) and experiences. Latin Jews are likely the second largest Jewish diasporic group in the world (after North American English-speaking Jews).” Ariela’s charge for Jewish educators is clear: Jewish Latino families are here and ready to participate in Jewish life, but should not have to decide between which identity they want to bring to our spaces. Instead, we can co-create spaces where everyone feels welcome to bring all of who they are.

“Programs that center and include families’ intersectional identities offer unique contexts for belonging, growth, and learning. Often, language is a primary way parents hope to pass on Latin identity.” Ariela challenged educators to see how languages (such as Spanish, Portuguese), cultural traits, and diverse stories can be included in our programs. By doing this, we create environments that welcome families to live their identities, without putting the labor of sharing and educating others on them.

From Our Participants:

“That workshop was incredible — I learned so much and had some of the most fruitful discussions with peers that I’ve ever had in these Jewish professional development spaces. Thank you for providing the opportunity!” -Alex Lyon, Youth Education Program Director, Beth Am
“Loved the writing prompts, opportunities to speak with colleagues, and the prereading was incredibly transformative, impactful, and healing for me. Thank you for creating liberatory theory and practice.” -Yael Sacks, Learning Specialist, Beit Rambam Day School

Resources for Further Learning and Engagement: