Amanda Mbuvi, Ph.D., is the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s new vice president for academic affairs. Mbuvi, a Hebrew Bible scholar and nonprofit leader, is the first Jew of Color to hold such a leadership position at an American rabbinical seminary. We delve into Mbuvi’s desire to deepen how people and communities think about diversity and identity. Mbuvi shares her enthusiasm for using the Bible in general, and Genesis and Exodus in particular to explore questions related to community and identity. Mbuvi and Lawson talk what it means to be women of color and leaders in the Jewish community, reacting to the findings of the Jews of Color Initiative's latest study, “Beyond the Count: Perspectives and Lived Experiences of Jews of Color.” (Eight in 10 respondents said they have experienced discrimination in a Jewish setting.) “So I think for a lot of people, when they say Jew of Color, they think about it like a child with divorced parents: on the weekends, you're Jewish and then during the week you're Black. It's like, you sort of go from one to the other, but not that you were both at the same time, in the same place as the same person. I think that's just something people have had a lot of difficulty getting their minds around,” Mbuvi says. The episode was recorded the week before Rosh Hashanah and Lawson, Mbuvi and Waxman share their hopes for the High Holidays and the coming year.
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- Reconstructing Judaism's High Holidays Collection for 2021/5782 — featuring Mahzor resources, original music, video teachings, new liturgy, resources from congregations & rabbis and more.
- "Grief Belongs in Social Movements. Can We Embrace It?" by Malika Devich-Cyril — A Black activist reflects on intergenerational trauma, community, and coming to terms with death in movement building.
- https://forward.com/news/471478/in-a-first-jew-of-color-to-lead-major-us-rabbinical-school/ — From The Forward: Amanda Mbuvi’s appointment marks the first time a Jew of color will lead a major rabbinical school. But that’s not why officials there selected her.
- High Holidays 2021/5782: Feeling Grief and Hope Through the Shofar Blast — Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., explores the sounds of the shofar blasts - the vibrations that give us permission to feel our losses and grief and at the same time point us toward cycles of renewal – in this High Holiday 5782 video message.
- “Beyond The Count” Study by the Jews of Color Initiatve — Beyond the Count: Perspectives and Lived Experiences of Jews of Color is an unprecedented study of the Jews of Color community that will enable the Jewish community to implement more change for racial equity and inclusion.
- Belonging in Genesis: Biblical Israel and the Politics of Identity Formation — In her 2016 book Belonging in Genesis, Amanda Mbuvi highlights the ways narrative and the act of storytelling function to define and create a community. Building on the emphasis on family in Genesis, she focuses on the way family storytelling is a means of holding together the interpretation of the text and the constitution of the reading community.
- Reconstructionist Rabbinical College — Founded in 1968 to serve the Jewish people and the wider world, RRC is dedicated to teaching Judaism as an evolving religious civilization and to engaging with the riches of Jewish tradition to create meaning, connect to the sacred and bring individuals and communities to greater love, justice and peace.