Mexico boasts a thriving Jewish community with roots that go back 500 years.

Some of the most vibrant Jewish neighborhoods in North America exist “South of the Border” in Mexico, where over 40,000 Jews have created a close-knit, distinct community.

Here are some surprising facts about North America’s least-known Jewish centers.

 Mexico’s oldest standing synagogue is the Sephardi Synagogue, built in 1923 in the heart of Mexico City, at 83 Justo Sierra Street. Although the Jewish community has long since moved to the suburbs, Jews who work downtown still frequent the congregation during the working week. Down the street is Mexico’s first Ashkenazi synagogue, Justo Sierra, built in 1941 as a replica of a magnificent Lithuanian synagogue; builders worked from a photograph, copying the ornate details faithfully. Now a cultural center, it is the only Mexican synagogue that is open to the public.

 Fear of crime and terrorism haunt Mexico’s Jews, making them highly security-conscious and wary of maintain the safety and security of their synagogues and other communal buildings.

 Today’s Mexican Jewish community is tightly-knit, and contains several distinct strands: two separate Syrian communities thrive, each with their own traditions, from Aleppo and Damascus. Ashkenazi Jews maintain the traditions they brought with them from Eastern Europe. Another group of Mexican Sephardi Jews hails from the Balkans, and keeps those memories alive through family recipes and customs.

 Finally, a fifth group has made its mark on Mexico’s Jewish community in recent years: immigrants from the United States, who call Mexico home now and have brought their own distinct traditions from North of the Border to Mexico.

Read the full article here

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Hi Tumblr! My name is Isaac Ofori Solomon! I’m a Jew of African descent! My mother’s side are Ethiopian Jews and my father’s Ethiopian and Igbo Jews. On this day that we celebrate the preservation of our people and our diversity I am proud to be part of something so important. I also want to tell a little bit of my story. I was born March 10, 1999 (or Adar 22, 5759). I’m 16 years old, semi-religious, a zionist, and future anthropologist/rabbi. Every day of my life so far I’ve had to deal with someone trying to question my Jewishness and/or me being a Jew because of the color of my skin. It got so bad that from 6th to 8th grade I stopped wearing my kippah to school because I got tired of the harassment. Last year before starting 9th grade my grandfather(who is recently deceased) took me to Brooklyn so I could meet his friends. That’s when I met my best friend Shlomo who is Hasidim and he told me to never let anyone take who you are. The day after that was the first time I wore a yarmalke outside of a synagogue in years, and I haven’t stopped since. Since then I’ve noticed many things. One largely being the “white lie”. The way how in American society, not Western society, that allows so many Jews to hide who they are. Jews of ALL colors have tried to bury our heritage just to be comfortable in this antisemitic society. This is detrimental to a point that few truly are acknowledge. As a group of people we must unite and educate ourselves. We must also stop allowing gentiles to weigh so much on things that should only involve Jews. We also need to accept TRUE zionism. What does that mean? Zionism goes back to the time of Moses. It is simply realising that we as a people have a right to be defended and a right to our ancestral land. We need to stop selling our people down the river. Whether it is over color, politics, or interpretation. We need to stop it. We also need to be proud of our people. Physically, historically, and religiously. I’m tired of people demeaning Jews of color and hearing people say the idiotic phrase “You look Jewish”. Wtf does that mean. We’ve lived across AfroEurAsia and have mixed with the native populace. Someone who is Ashkenazi doesn’t look like someone who is Kaifeng or Lemba. Nonetheless we still are related and follow the same truth. We must stop letting goy define us. Repeat with me “DON’T LET GOY DEFINE YOU!!!” Shalom. I wish everyone an empowered preservation day.

Here’s something a little more somber for preservation day. This is my mezuzah that my mother bought me when I moved into my condo. It’s one of the most beautiful things I own. But I don’t feel safe hanging it on my front door. I live in Montreal, a city with one of the largest Jewish populations in North America. But I’m still scared of being outwardly Jewish. A few months ago, there was an act of antisemitic vandalism committed in a predominately Jewish apartment complex near my house. So for now, it sits in my desk drawer, hidden.

anonymous asked:

Does not being close to your religion still make you part of it? I'm Jewish, though religions never been a huge part in my life. I celebrate major holidays but don't go to synagogue, so I'm not sure if I actually count in the jewish community.

I’m not Jewish, and I don’t feel that I have the right to answer this. I’m posting it for any of our jewish followers. Please look in the tags and replies anon.

Thank you everyone.

-Lou the Lobster

anonymous asked:

Is someone who is 20% Jewish a goy?

there are not enough details here for me to tell you specifically so here is my generic “what is a jew” spiel. please remember that i am fallible.

as i understand it, you can have jewish identity on a number of axes. here are some (not all) of these axes:

ethnic judaism – having jewish blood. so in your “20% jewish” example (??? what does this mean), this axis is probably the relevant one. 

cultural judaism – experiencing judaism as a cultural presence that pertains to you. i’ve never felt this one and the idea confuses me, but when jumblr had these discussions last year so many jews insisted on this that it must be a way some people experience their judaism.

religious judaism – you believe in/have accepted the religious tenets of judaism as pertaining to you (and see yourself as a jew; i.e. noachides aren’t jews on this axis)

halachic judaism – you have undergone a halachic conversion to judaism, or the person who gave birth to you was halachically jewish.

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happy jewish preservation day!!! my name is eve & my hebrew name is chava shula. i’m ashkenazi and reform. also i’m genderqueer and i prefer they/them pronouns. i just wanted to post some positivity because there’s been a lot of antisemitism floating around recently and we deserve better !!
i love being jewish. it’s a huge part of my identity. i used to get teased about my “jewy” nose a lot, so here are some bomb selfies of me rocking my crooked nose!! spread some jewish love 🌸

stephshair asked:

The way I look at it, if you have any of the aspects of Judaism, after that it's really up to you to decide what you identify as. You could be half Jewish ethnically but feel no connection to it and decide to id as a goy, or you could just be Jewish from a grandparent or whatever and still feel Jewish and therefore be Jewish.

When I was a kid, I thought that I was ugly. I have a big nose, unruly hair, and I’m very hirsute. In other words, I hated the parts of myself that marked me as Jewish. I didn’t realized until this morning how much of my self-esteem problems stem from gentile beauty standards. 

So here’s me, curly hair, big nose, facial and body hair, and all.

I’m through with being ashamed of my appearance. To all my semitic brothers and sisters, you are beautiful.

youtube

Necessary to watch. 

 Debate is always a good thing so you watch and decide

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My family at my bat (bar??) mitzvah (2008) vs. my family at my cousin’s bat mitzvah (2015)

So some things are different! If it’s not apparent, I’m hella queer, hella trans, hella… well, hella. I don’t go to Jew school anymore, and the last time I went to temple was *insert vague mumbling and hand gestures here*. I also can hardly pronounce my hebrew name, but at least I finally remembered what it is! I tried to distance myself from Judaism for awhile based around some super negative views of religion as a whole, but I’m absolutely coming back from that (although I still don’t necessarily believe in it). Judaism used to be so extremely important to me; I miss the community, and it’s really nice to know that I can always be Jewish if I want to be. 

So, y’know, if it’s gonna be “Preservation Day,” you can bet I’ll be sticking my face in it! :)

Hii I’m Sydni, my hebrew name is בתיה or ‘Batya’

For the longest time I had a really complicated relationship with my judaism from both inside the community and out. i never really got along with my religious neighbourhood (theres a synagogue two seconds from my house), but i also found that my culture was mocked and misunderstood by non-jews. i never understood why i couldn’t have my holidays off, or why i was called “tucan sam”, or had pennies thrown at me, or how he drew a swastika and hitler or my dry erase board, or why i was called down to the office in grade five for ~apparently~ starting a “jew only club”. i didn’t understand why everyone hated us.

i struggled with my nose, with my body hair, with the fact that when i was vocal or angry i fit perfectly into a stereotype. i dont feel shame about it but i got a nose job, and i am happier with my face now, but obviously i still feel like ive separated myself from my people more. 

i always considered myself agnostic and culturally jewish. it wasn’t until i went to germany last school semester that something clicked for me. i spent time away from my jewish neighbourhood, with people who would often fetishize jewish women, or celebrate christmas markets EVERWHERE even until the new year, or who believed jews should “get over the holocaust”. evidently this was difficult. my parents came to visit and brought me to berlin and i ended up spending time at a holocaust memorial. i have been to many, but something strange happened that day and as i passed by the photos of my people and i realized how many of them looked like me/people i know. it suddenly clicked for me, how special my culture is, how precious and wonderful it can be. even  or chinese food on christmas, or the occasional yiddish phrase, or the deliciousness of kosher pickles, i love it.

i love my culture. i love my people. i love judaism.

(4am post that im hoping makes sense and is a day late_

anonymous asked:

so i'm kind of culturally jewish (dad's mom was jewish, mom had a grandpa who was adopted and jewish but his family covered it up) and i'm starting to want to learn more about being jewish. tbh it's because some douchebag drew a swastika on my paper in school (w/o knowing i was jewish) and it hit me that people are still awful and antisemitic... anyway, is it ok for me to be jewish but also not believe in god? i want to reconnect to my family's history but i def am atheist rn... thank u xx

Yeah, unfortunately people are still awful and antisemitic, and it often gets brushed aside as unimportant, when really it’s totally toxic…

You can definitely be Jewish and not believe in God.

Many famous historical Rabbis have battled with the concept of God, what God does, what form God may take, and even whether God exists at all!  Yes, even Rabbis.  Unlike other religions, it’s normal in Judaism to have at least a bit of doubt in God.  And although we describe him/she/they as “powerful”, he/she/they aren’t always considered “right” or “omniscient”, which were words applied later more emphatically to the Christian God.

I met a Holocaust survivor once, who begged us (a group of Jewish teenagers) to keep the faith, to stay Jewish, and to raise our children and grandchildren as Jewish.  She didn’t want Hitler to win after all, she didn’t want Judaism to be forgotten.  However, at the end of the talk, someone asked her if she believed in God.

Her answer was a resounding “No.  How could I believe in someone that would sit idly and watch so much suffering of our people.”  She was a total atheist, and didn’t believe in God one bit, but was proud of her Judaism and wanted us to keep the faith.

This may seem hypocritical but it’s a stance a lot of Jews took after the holocaust and other persecutions.

TL;DR:  You don’t have to believe in God to be Jewish.

While it’s still Preservation Day where I am, I wanted to share a picture of my hanukkiah. It looks almost exactly like the one my mother was given by her father when she started college, just as she gave this one to me.

When I came to college, fresh out of my Modern Orthodox day school, and arrived at my dorm, I discovered that my Catholic roommate had decorated her side of the room to the teeth with images of Mary and Jesus, which I was pretty much okay with (other than the fact that the Jesus statue was naked. I’m fine with religious iconography, but I still don’t understand why Jesus didn’t even have so much as a loincloth).

Until her grandmother stopped by, and noticed the siddur on my desk, and began making remarks about how Jews are all liars and the Holocaust never happened. As I tried to respond, she immediately began jabbering in Spanish and claiming she didn’t speak English.

After that, I called my mother. She sent me this hanukkiah (or, as most people accidentally call it, menorah), the hardiest one she could find, so as to make sure it would survive the shipping and life with a college student, and remarked on how it so resembled her own. Ever since then, I have displayed it proudly and openly, and now often look over at its position in the window next to my bed, where if can be seen from both the street and my bed.

It’s been a rock, of sorts, for me to look at and hold as I see the rising levels of antisemitism on my campus. It’s a connection to my family and my heritage, and a reminder of all that we as Jews have persevered through, and will continue to survive through. It’s a symbol of light, and has been my light in the darkness through so many recent days when I have needed one.

And one day, I’ll light it with my children, just as my mother lit her hannukiah with my siblings and me, and I will tell them our story of perseverance and survival.