Why is Cohort 17 focused on Jewish Leaders of Color?

The American Jewish community is multiracial — current estimates are that between 10-20% of the American Jewish community identify as Jews of Color. Yet, there continues to be only a few prominent Jewish Leaders of Color in Jewish mainstream organizations. At the same time, there are Jews of color playing significant leadership roles in secular social justice movements. This cohort aims to support Jewish Leaders of Color working both within and outside of the Jewish community.

As a national organization that exists to reinvigorate the Jewish community's commitment to working across racial, class, and gender lines toward a more just, fair, and compassionate America, it is our moral responsibility to hold these spaces and facilitate ways for all Jews to build meaningful relationships and find repair with one another over time. Bend the Arc believes that reflective leadership is paramount in building a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming Jewish community on several levels: one that allows people to bring their full selves and identities, and one that truly reflects the ever-changing face of the Jewish population at large. It is for this main reason that we have chosen to dedicate four Selah cohorts to training Jewish Leaders of Color. 

In 2015, Selah launched its first cohort for Jewish Leaders of Color, Selah Cohort 14. Primarily led and informed by people of color, Selah Cohort 17 will not only be a unique and powerful space for the participants, but aims to contribute to the wider anti-racist efforts in the country, including the Jewish social justice sector. Part of the purpose of this project is to create a safe, healing space where Jewish Leaders of Color can build deep, interdependent relationships with each other to advance and support each other in their leadership inside and outside the Jewish community. The program curriculum is informed by the shared experiences and needs of Jewish Leaders of Color. It is intentional in acknowledging this and forging a space where those experiences can be honored, and needs can be met. This cohort is open to self-identified Jewish Leaders of Color, which could include Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews.