Publications + Media

Be'chol Lashon Newsletter • May 2007

Be'chol Lashon, a program of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, seeks to grow and strengthen the Jewish people through racial, ethnic, and cultural inclusiveness.
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In This Issue

Upcoming Events

Israel in the gardens musician

Israel in the Gardens
Sunday, June 3, 2007, 10:00 am. - 5:00 pm

Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Celebrate Jewish Diversity at Northern California's largest Jewish festival, Israel in the Gardens! More than 15,000 people unite once a year to rejoice and commemorate Israel's independence.

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, spiritual leader of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda will feature music from his new CD, Sing for Joy.

Plus! Drum Circle & Crafts at the Be'chol Lashon Tent

Free Event. More information.

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu Featured in the j.
Dan Pine, May 25 2007, j. Weekly
Gershom Sizomu, from Uganda's Abayudaya Jewish community, will lead the procession all around the perimeter of the Gardens. Sizomu is the rabbi in his community and is being sponsored by Be'chol Lashon, a Bay Area organization that supports Jewish diversity, to attend the University of Judaism, where he is a fourth-year rabbinic student.

Read the full article

Jewish Mutliracial Network Hosts Annual Retreat for Diverse Families
June 1st-3rd, 2007
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

multiracial couple

Be'chol Lashon is providing funds to staff the youth and music programs, as well as adult workshops at the 2007 Jewish Multiracial Network Summer Family Retreat

At the request of Shahanna McKinney- Baldon, we are supporting the work of Daniel Banks, Ph.D. and Adam McKinney, Co-Founders of DNA WORKS, who are consulting with JMN.

More information

The Jews of India: An Introduction to Film, Food, Music and Henna!
June 18, 2007, 6pm
JCC Manhattan, New York
334 Amsterdam Ave, at 76th Street

Romiel Daniel

Romiel Daniel, president of the Indian Jewish Community of the USA will talk about the long, proud history of Jews in various regions of India. A buffet dinner, including a variety of vegetarian Indian delicacies and Indian music will follow. You can even have you hands and feet adorned with henna!

$20 for members of the Indian Jewish Congregation of the UCA and JCC members; $25 for non-members. For more infomraiton call 646-505-5708 or go to

Rabbi Joshua Salter spoke at Tikvah Israel Congregation

Rabbi Joshua Salter

In addition to his service at Beth Shalom, Rabbi Salter is employed with Chicago's Southwest Organizing Project, helping to galvanize the Southwest Chicago community neighborhood residents, clergy, and businesses against violence and crime and their far-reaching consequences. He is also involved in youth ministry, prison ministry, and community liaison work.

Have you checked out our website?

Institute for Jewish & Community Research

Want to learn more about Jewish diversity?

Buy our book, In Every Tongue, here!



Sing for JoyMusic has long been a motivating force for religion in Africa and has been critical to the survival of the Abayudaya community. After dictator Iddi Amin Dadda's ban on Judaism in the 1970s, Abayudaya community leaders used music to attract people back to Judaism. Inspired by the success of local Christian missionaries, this strategy successfully compelled many youth to return to the almost extinct Abayudaya community. The community has borrowed and adapted to forge a new, distinctly Jewish music.

All proceeds from this CD contribute to the health and well being of the Abayudaya and surrounding multi-faith communities.

To download the music digitally, please visit iTunes. Order a copy of the new Sing for Joy CD at or

The Abayudaya Jewish Community of Uganda is one of the many Jewish communities around the world in partnership with Be'chol Lashon. At the request of the Abayudaya leadership, Be'chol Lashon works with the community to build infrastructure, including providing medical care to all residents of their sub-county: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim.

All funds raised for the Abayudaya Health Plan have been matched dollar-for-dollar by a challenge grant, as will all the additional donations. This inspirational project is becoming a reality through your generosity. To donate now, click here.

Well Report

The water from the borehole was tested by the Ugandan water authority for quality and reliability. We are delighted to announce that the water has received an excellent report!

Israel SiririIsrael Siriri, the community engineer, has started laying the pipes to transport the water from the well to Nabagoye Hill, the site of the health clinic. He has also applied for a city electric line to run to the well site to power the electric pump. The local government will issue the permit within the next few weeks.

Read on...


First Aid Room

Before First Aid Room Renovation
First aid room before

During First Aid Room Renovation
First aid room during renovation

While the Medical Clinic is being built, an already existing room is being refurbished to serve as a first aid room to provide emergency care and preventative education for HIV and Malaria. The plastering of the first aid room is now completed and a new ceiling and front door have been installed. The construction team is putting on the finishing touches, by installing the dispensing window and new doorframes, complete with mosquito screens. The screens are being ordered for each of the homes to protect against mosquito invasion. Dr. Samson Wamani is purchasing medical supplies. He has approached the Mbale district director of health services to donate vaccines to augment the first aid room. The Abayudaya Health Committee is interviewing potential applicants to fill the positions of day and evening staff nurses.

Read on...


Gary Tobin Is There Disdain for Evangelicals in the Classroom?
By Alan Cooperman, May 5, 2007,
Dr. Gary Tobin asked professors at all kinds of colleges to rate their feelings toward various religious groups. He said he designed the question primarily to gauge anti-Semitism but found that professors expressed positive feelings toward Jews, Buddhists, Roman Catholics and most other religious groups. The only groups that elicited highly negative responses were evangelical Christians and Mormons.

Read on...

Anne Frank Building Community Through Anne Frank
By Florencia Arbiser, May 2007,
Sara Reales admits she wasn't sure how visitors to an exhibit on Anne Frank would react to having security and police cadets as guides. After all, noted Reales, a 20-year-old from the outskirts of Buenos Aires, police had caused great suffering in Argentine history, and still are sometimes implicated in abuses.

Read on...

Aya Shneerson Israeli at the Helm of Massive Food Relief Operation in the Congo
By David Brinn, March 25, 2007, Israel21C
It seemed like Aya Shneerson was on the fast track to journalistic success. The Haifa-raised Israeli had finished a degree in journalism from Georgia Tech - where her father, a professor at the Technion, was taking part in a professors exchange program - and had joined the CNN team in Atlanta working on the international desk. But a fortuitous journey to Sudan sent her down an entirely different career path.

Read on...


Ethiopian Girl 613 Words: Not Everything is Black & White
By Melissa Fay Greene, January/February 2007, American Jewish Life Magazine
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 2001, I showed up at the gates of the compound of the Beta Israel people (disparagingly known as falashas), the Ethiopian Jews.

Arriving there on Shabbat by taxi rather than on foot was not wise, but I'd known no one to ask for Shabbat hospitality and my hotel was far away. It was my first trip to Ethiopia. I was reporting for the New York Times Magazine on the state of Africa's millions of orphaned children; and I was meeting five-year-old Helen, whom my family was adopting.

Read on...

Idan RaichelI Met Children Who Only Wanted to Live
By Idan Raichel, April 15 2007, YNet
Three months ago, I was asked if I would like to join a group traveling to Ethiopia and Rwanda. When asked to travel to Ethiopia, I go. I'm even willing to join a group that supports elephants. It took me a while to realize that the group consisted of doctors who travel around the world to treat children suffering from heart ailments.

Read on...

Julius LesterNot the Face in the Mirror
By Brad Pilcher, January/February 2007, American Jewish Life Magazine
When I first met with my rabbi to begin a course of study towards conversion, one of the books he slipped into my hands was Lovesong by Julius Lester. The son of a black Methodist minister, Lester would come of age in the South before the Civil Rights movement, but he would also begin a long journey from his family's piano (on which he would play Kol Nidrei) to a Jewish conversion in the early 1980s.

Read on...


Conversion Offers a Lifeline for Dwindling Communities
By Brian Harris, May 15, 2007, j. Weekly
As more of these communities - some with as few as 20 members and located in isolated Jewish outposts such as El Salvador and the Bahamas - are able to hire full-time rabbis, the conversion issue is a growing one that impacts the communities' survival. With the exception of Orthodox communities in Panama and Costa Rica, all the countries in the region face serious questions on how to maintain Jewish identity as members migrate out of the region or marry non-Jews. "Obviously, with a small congregation, we don't want to marry close relatives,"said Ainsley Henriques, honorary secretary of Jamaica's United Congregation of Israelites.

Read on...

Nicaraguan Jews"Who is a Jew?" in Nicaragua
By Brian Harris, May 6, 2007,
Bitter divisions over who is a Jew threaten to split Nicaragua's tiny Jewish community.
At an April 30 assembly to elect a new board of directors, relations between the 50 Jews in the country deteriorated after two people whom some consider non-Jews were elected to the board. The assembly decided to allow anyone who "feels Jewish in their heart" to be a member of the community, even if they don't have maternal links to Judaism and haven't converted.

Read on...

ChavezUnder Chavez's Rule, Venezuela's Jews Fear for Future
By Hal Weitzman, April 2, 2007, JTA
The floor of the small synagogue in the center of Coro, the oldest Jewish house of prayer in Venezuela, is covered in a thick layer of sand intended to recall the Children of Israel's time in the Sinai Desert. It is also, however, a symbol of the transience of Jewish settlement in South America.

Read on...


Sophie JudahDropped from Heaven: Bene Israel Through Sophie Judah's Eyes
The article found in the May Indian Jewish Congregation of USA newsletter, is adapted from's "Out of India" by Amy Rosenberg and book review.
Sophie Judah was born in Jabalpur, a small town in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. She did not grow up very observant because of her father's profession - he was in the Army. The family moved around and very often they were the only Jewish family in town. Although her family was not very observant, they did keep kashrut.

Read on...

Movie PosterTurn Left at the End of the World: Cricket at the Movies
May Newsletter, Indian Congregation of USA
The rich history of cricket in the Negev desert has made its way to the big screen. "Turn Left at the End of the World," directed by Avi Nesher, was released in Israel on June 26th 2004. The movie tells the story of the immigration to Israel of Jews from two distinct backgrounds in the 1960s, and their settlement in the Negev towns of Dimona and Yeruham. Indian Jews arrived looking for a better life in the West, only to find themselves in the desert.

Read on...

Cuban MusicianCuban Salsa a Tuneful Mix with Klezmer
By Larry Luxner, March 30 2007, JTA
Klezmer music, rooted in the Jewish shtetls of 19th-century Eastern Europe, is making an unprecedented comeback. So is Cuban salsa, whose distinctive Afro-Caribbean rhythms are enjoying a wave of global popularity.

Read on...