The American Jewish community has historically struggled to embrace its multicultural roots. In reviewing history, it’s easy to understand why. For most of the twentieth century, melting-pot ideologies that impacted the development of the American identity also influenced the formation of an American Jewish identity. Like the former, the latter required a relinquishing of former cultural identities often thought of as primitive, old allegiances. While we can’t change the past, we, at Jewtina y Co., are passionate about changing the future.
If there’s one anecdote that reigns true about Jews, it is that we have managed to live and thrive in numerous communities around the world. No region demonstrates this better than Latin America. Currently home to roughly 500,000 Jews, Latin America has been the second largest Diasporic Jewish community since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the end of World War I. Dictatorships, economic instability, and war led many to emigrate, and today the United States is home to one of the largest populations of Jews who were born in–or whose parents or grandparents were born in–Latin America. Adoptees, converts, and folks from interfaith families also make up an integral part of our community, and as such, it is our goal to not only raise awareness of the diversity that defines the Latin-Jewish experience but to also ensure that anyone who identifies as Jewish and Latin feels at home at Jewtina y Co.
While there are over 200,000 Latin-Jews living in the United States, American Jewry remains largely unaware of the experience of our community. It also remains largely ignorant of the experience of other Jews of Color. Sadly this ignorance has resulted in years of flattening the Jewish experience, racism, forced assimilation, and most drastically–loss of valuable Jewish culture. Tired of waiting around in hopes of Jewish institutions to see that our community’s power is in our multiculturalism, Jewtina y Co. was born.
Over the last four years, Jewtina y Co. has been on an incredible mission to nurture Latin-Jewish community, identity, leadership, and resiliency. Knowing that identity development is vital to a person’s understanding of self and sense of belonging within their social systems, we’ve carefully curated a wide range of programs that affirm the lived experiences of all our community members. From our VOCES storytelling project to our PUENTES leadership fellowship, to our multilingual chaggim resources, we have committed ourselves to design culturally-responsive opportunities that inspire our community members to proudly ground themselves in their intersectional identities, gather without worry, and lead as their holistic Latin-Jewish self.
As we begin to write the next great chapter of the American Jewish story, our hope is that our work not only inspires the Jewish community to celebrate its multiculturalism but also works tirelessly to sustain it.
Analucía Lopezrevoredo is the Founder & Executive Director of Jewtina y Co.