As awareness to the needs and opportunities around issues of Jewish diversity become more visible and prioritized in mainstream Jewish life, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews are ironically left on the margins – understudied and frequently misunderstood. Despite this, we are seeing Sephardic, Mizrahi and Israeli students increase their enrollment in Jewish day schools and their participation in Jewish life, becoming a growing majority at Jewish Day Schools in Los Angeles and New York and the largest ethnic minority at Jewish Day Schools in other major cities. While there is an expressed yearning amongst formal and informal Jewish educators for content, thought-leadership, trainings, and curriculum focused on Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews – there have been few resources available for Sephardic and Mizrahi organizations and thought-leaders to produce scalable education programs for distribution.
JIMENA has ALWAYS taken a proactive approach in meeting unmet needs of Jewish educators and community organizations eager to integrate Sephardic and Mizrahi projects, programs, and modalities into their offerings. While there may be a lack of research and minimal support for our Sephardic and Mizrahi communities, there is a wealth of content and leadership ready to share Mizrahi and Sephardic heritage with Jewish Day Schools and education institutions throughout the United States.
Moving forward, our hope is to be able to provide trainings and workshops for educators wishing to integrate Sephardic and Mizrahi heritage in their classrooms. We also hope to provide trainings and workshops for Sephardic and Mizrahi educators to gain tools, leadership skills, and background information to help empower and train their own communities to integrate Sephardic and Mizrahi heritage into their schools and learning spaces. As there is a wealth of curriculum and educational materials available in Hebrew on subjects related to Mizrahi Jews, Sepahrdic Jews and issues of Jewish diversity we hope to see curriculum and classroom materials from Israel translated to English. And finally, as this curriculum is a fluid document we hope to continuously add lesson plans and resources to this curriculum.
Creating a Sephardic-Friendly School Culture, by Rabbi Perry Tirschwell, Journal of Jewish Day School Leadership
The Devaluation of Minority Experiences at Jewish Day Schools, by Jimmy Bitton, Canada Jewish Journal