During this presentation workshop, we will tell our personal family stories and explore our link to Ashkenazi Judaism, both ethnically and personally. This workshop is a safe space for discussing honest and authentic feelings and reactions. We name and challenge the perceptions that we and the rest of America have about who Ashkenazi Jews are and the different contexts that shape the view of this identity. We address the myths and facts about the definition of Ashkenazi, including the relationship between Ashkenazi Jew and White. We will acknowledge and explore the persecution and discrimination that have been faced by Ashkenazi Jews based on ethnic and religious identity. We will also explore white privilege and white guilt. Participants will leave with a more concrete grasp of their body and ancestry’s place in the world, in America, in their communities, and in their social missions.
While holding intrinsic value to participants regardless of the news cycle, this workshop is important and timely as an action you can take directly in response to this summer’s series of tragedies. While it may seem like a selfish or even inappropriate response to another’s tragedy to take time out for self care and reflection, many Black Americans and all professional social justice advocates recognize that this is a critically important first step during times of racial crisis, particularly as an ally. Self care and self reflection help ameliorate inner personal tension during controversial or politically charged times, giving an individual tools to be present and interactive, rather than reactive. Preventative self reflection tempers future resentment and assists in removing guilt as a motivator for action.