The Jewish Multiracial Network (JMN) was founded in 1997 by a group of parents who wanted to provide a community and supportive network for multiracial Jewish families. JMN’s initial programming efforts sought to provide Jewish children of color and their families a space where their dual identities would not be challenged — through the organization of social gatherings along the East Coast and the development of an annual retreat, which continues to this day. As our organization has grown, we have expanded our impact to include adult Jews of Color and members across the continental United States. What started over 15 years ago as a group of just a handful of families has now grown into a thriving community of hundreds of members.
Over the years, our organization has continued to provide support to our membership through empowerment, education and community building. JMN has worked to provide families with resources about diverse Jewish communities, facilitated dialogue on ways in which members can marry their cultural traditions with Jewish ritual, circulated information about books and movies that feature ethnically and racially diverse Jews, and created original materials that feature the diversity of the Jewish community. We have also hosted a plethora of workshops at our annual retreats designed to empower and encourage our membership to advocate for inclusion and take leadership positions in their local communities.
We have worked to increase inclusion in the larger Jewish community by providing educational summits for Jewish professionals, giving guidance to institutions on appropriate ways to design diversity programming and initiatives, highlighting synagogues that are welcoming to Jews of Color and multiracial Jewish families, and compiling lists of inclusive Jewish materials as a resource for educators.
In our over 15 years of existence we have seen the difference JMN is making in the Jewish community in a variety of ways. Children who have gone through our programs have sought out leadership positions in their local communities and remain affiliated in the Jewish community at far greater rates. We’ve also seen increasing dialogue throughout the greater Jewish community about issues of inclusion and diversity. The American Jewish community has become increasingly aware of the various cultural narratives of Jews of varying racial and ethnic identities within the Jewish community.
While we have made significant progress, we still maintain our commitment to working toward full inclusion of Jews of Color and multiracial Jewish families in the larger Jewish community. Please look for our programming, educational opportunities, and training in your community!