JMN is thrilled to introduce our 2016 bloggers!
Last year we decided that it would be eye-opening to have Jews of Color and members of Multiracial Jewish families blog for our website. We hoped that it would give voice to individual bloggers, but also to provide voices for those in our communities who feel voiceless, either because of where they live in the world, as one of only a few Jews of Color in their community, and to more widely share the experiences of a Jews of Color and multiracial Jewish families. Our bloggers offered personal glimpses into their lives and we continue to be grateful to them for stepping forward to provide authentic and varied perspectives on the experiences Jews of Color and multiracial Jewish families.
This year we are pleased to introduce new bloggers! Like last year, the 2016 JMN Bloggers come from varied walks of life, and hope you, like us, are eager to hear their different perspectives and experiences. We hope that you are challenged and inspired by what they have to say. We’re certainly looking forward to it.
My name is Meies Matz, and am a Sephardic Creole Jew (with family that hails from Louisiana to the Oklahoma reservation) and I am blessed to be the mother of three beautiful college students (Emanuel, Samuel and Eliya) and wife of 26 years to my college sweetheart David. I currently work as a Research and Grant Coordinator for the Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations (OAAPI), for the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and am an MPH graduate student at the Oregon State Health & Sciences University (OHSU).
I was born in San Francisco, and moved to the Pacific NW (Portland) in 2001 and am excited to write this year for the JMN Blog to give voice to the beauty of family – both those we are born into, and those we create. The beauty of family is that it is a continuous interwoven relationship that transcends death, whose love becomes embedded in our hearts and souls, and my hope this year is to share some of our stories and show how we have transformed our light into “Teshuva (Return), Tefillah, (Prayer) and Tzedakah (Righteousness)” to support the larger Jewish communal family.
Dr. Joseph Pope
Dr. Joseph “Pope” is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Color the Room a prestigious diversity and inclusion boutique professional services firm. As a thought leader with roots of his foundation in many trees and gardens; he is best known for “bridging the gap” and his insightful perspective and courageous commentary on social, cultural and religious issues. He celebrates and embraces his unique identity as a Jewish African American. He teaches about the inclusion of interfaith families and black Jews being a part of the dialogue, history and the conversations around Jewish culture.
With a passion for writing and enthusiasm for education; he is excited about the opportunity to inspire and help someone on their journey through blogging for the Jewish Multiracial Network in 2016. As he is often quoted “I believe in education that teaches to embrace and include rather than separate and isolate. Let’s do the work to “bridge the gap”. Dr. Pope is a current fellow for Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) and a member of a Reform community. When he isn’t found talking about race, diversity, and inclusion you can find him snuggled up on the couch reading a book, cooking or enjoying family time.
Tony Westbrook Jr.
Tony J. Westbrook, Jr. is a St. Louis based activist and community leader working to address issues of racial inequality, discrimination, diversity, and inclusion throughout the St. Louis community. He received his B.A. in Communication Studies-Interpersonal and Intercultural Communications from Fontbonne University. He is a 2014 I. E. Millstone Fellow through the St. Louis Jewish Federation, serves on the Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs Jewish Funds for Human Needs committee, and he currently serves as the Assistant Food and Beverage Director for a St. Louis retirement community.
Minna Scherlinder Morse has been part of JMN since 2006, after she and her husband, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, adopted their first child. They are now raising two amazing kids, 11 and 7, both of African descent, both adopted domestically, both in open adoptions. Minna has served as a JMN Board member, Executive Committee member, and Strategic Planning chair, and was responsible for garnering funding for the organization’s first retreat for young adult Jews of Color and allies. She more recently has helped organize JMN events in her home city of Washington, DC, including a JMN tour of the White House. Professionally, she has worked as a writer and editor, coach, and nonprofit director. While working part-time this last decade, she has been devoting her avocational energy to conversations and programs that help build a more just and inclusive world for her kids, other adoptees and families touched by adoption, Jews of Color, and those in our community and the larger society who have been historically marginalized.
Erika Davis is a JMN Board Member, writer, activist and blogger behind Black, Gay and Jewish, a blog that explores the intersectionality of race, sexual orientation and Judaism. She’s written for a variety of Jewish websites and newspaper, is an active JMN Volunteer, running JMN’s Social Media accounts and curating and editing the JMN Blog, as well as working on the planning committee for the Jews of Color National Convening in NYC. When she’s not talking or writing about Jewish Diversity Erika can be found in Tacoma, WA trying out her green thumb on her homestead with her wife, their cats and their new puppy.