Helen K. Kim is Professor of Sociology at Whitman College and in 2019 assumed the position of Associate Dean for Faculty Development. She is also the co-author of JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews along with her husband Noah Leavitt. In this interview, Kim discusses macro topics such as racism in the Jewish community and the rancorous debate over communal demography. She also discusses more personal matters, including her experience of her son’s recent bar mitzvah. The episode begins with Kim talking about her search for wisdom in the Jewish tradition and how she found inspiration in the works of Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher and Torah commentator. Later, she expresses her frustration with Jewish organizations that long acknowledged the prevalence of racism behind closed doors but steered clear of addressing racism publicly. “Why are we choosing to run away from [these realities]? Why don't we choose to run towards them and try to do something about them to become anti-racist.”
A full episode transcript is forthcoming.
This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.Support Hashivenu
- JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews — JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American.
- "Funny - You Don't Look Jewish" by Helen K. Kim — Episode guest Helen K. Kim writes that, "Raising [my children] Ari and Talia with a strong and nuanced sense of identity is not so simple as having kimchi in our refrigerator and challah on Friday nights."
- What It's Like For Non-White Jews During The High Holidays — Helen K. Kim and Rabbi Sandra Lawson were both featured in this 2015 HuffPost Religion piece asking a few racially and ethnically diverse American Jewish families to offer a reflection on their relationship to Judaism.
- A Jewish-Asian Couple's Union Leads to a Scholarly Interest in Intermarriage — NY Times profile on Helen Kim and Noah S. Leavitt
- The Laws of Teshuvah in the Mishneh Torah — The Laws of Teshuvah By Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon ("Maimonides"); translated by Eliyahu Touger
- Rabbi David Basior on Teshuvah as Resilience — Rabbi David Basior speaks about how the Jewish value of teshuvah holds power in interpersonal relationships.
- The Challenges and Unexpected Rewards of ‘Teshuvah’