We Stand Against Anti-Semitism, And We Stand With Ilhan Omar - An Open Letter From Midwest Jewish Women of Color Progressives
An Open Letter From Midwest Jewish Women of Color Progressives

One month ago, we were among the Midwest participants in a delegation of about 100 Jewish Women of Color (medium.com/JWOCmarching) who helped lead the Women’s March in Washington, DC. We marched to show our support for the unity principles of the Women’s March and to demonstrate to the world the idea that our liberation is tied to the liberation of all our sisters and siblings--and also to our capacity to listen, learn, grow, and take action together.

This week, President Trump had the chutzpah to demand that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar step down, as penance for tweeting that politicians’ support for the Israeli government is often linked to money from the pro-Israeli government lobbying organization AIPAC. Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy had the chutzpah to say that Congresswoman Omar’s tweet was worse than Congressman Steve King’s repeated defenses of white supremacy. And after Congresswoman Omar apologized, Vice President Pence had the chutzpah to call her tweets a “disgrace,” and her apology “inadequate.”

We call “chutzpah” because, as was stated in the original Jewish Women of Color Marching open letter (https://medium.com/jwocmarching/jewish-women-of-color-open-letter-9e912fdadf2a):

“As Jewish women of color, we are committed to and united with our Jewish family and allies in fighting the growing threat of white supremacist and white nationalist violence in our country AND we are clear that this threat is not coming chiefly from our allies in the social justice movements we navigate.…

[We] reject any assertion that there is more anti-Semitism in African-American communities than in others and any belief that African-American leaders, and women specifically, should be singled out for particular attention toward addressing the impacts of the growing presence of anti-Semitism in our world.”

Over the past several months, members of the Jewish Women of Color Marching delegation have helped Women’s March leadership on the east coast to develop their understanding of anti-Semitism, to bolster the Women’s March focus on intersectionality, and to expand the Women’s March narrative to be more inclusive. This Shabbat, Midwest Jewish Women of Color progressives call on our allies to stand with us, as we seek to leverage that momentum with a focus on our Midwestern region. In the spirit of living into the values embodied by the Women’s March Unity Principles, We make the following three invitations:

*We invite our Midwest Jewish community organizations (including those on college campuses) to step up their work to build authentic relationships with local individuals, organizations, and communities of color, and to do so in a way that centers--rather than tokenizes or marginalizes--Jews who are also People of Color.

*We invite our Midwest diversity groups and organizations to prioritize a focus on religious diversity and to do so in a way that centers leadership of, and coalition building with, Muslims, Jews, and other religious minorities.

*We invite other Jewish racial justice and diversity initiatives to set and meet goals for serving our region and to do so in a way that aligns with our Midwestern communities’ own needs and priorities.

In the words of the original #JWOCmarching open letter, “We see anti-Semitism within our movement as a family problem that must be addressed.” This includes calling out the real threats of anti-Semitism under Trump--racial anti-Semitism (ex. white nationalists in Charlottesville) and Christian anti-Semitism (ex. Christians supporting right-wing policies in Israel to fulfill an end-times theology that charges that Jews deserve to burn in hell)--and differentiating them from these types of accusations against leaders of color that equate criticism of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism. These accusations are a part of a right-wing strategy designed to silence criticism of right-wing Israeli government policies, and they represent a new and radical departure which has been debunked by a number of academic scholars.

This Shabbat, Midwest Jewish Women of Color progressives invite all to stand with us, as we double down on our commitment to the Women’s March Unity Principles, through authentic relationship building and mutual support.

Congresswoman Omar, we stand with you!

Liddie Collins-Siegrist
Shahanna McKinney-Baldon
Chelsea Cross
Jna Shelomith
Erica Walker
Sharon Gibson Morgan

We invite all supporters, regardless of where you live or whether you identify as a Jewish Woman of Color, to sign on to this open letter using the form below to add your name/organization.

Signatures will continue to be updated periodically.

Shoshana Brown, Black Yids Matter

Rachel Ida Buff, JVP Milwaukee

Ellen Berkowitz

Martha Treder

Lesley Wolf

Jane Audette

Rachel Federlin

Rachel Faulkner


Kelly O''Keefe-Boettcher

Sheba McCants

Rachel Plotkin

Nataly Antar

Jenny Pressman

Karen Anijar

Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs

Kris Glodoski Wolf

Dove Kent

Sasha King, Bend the Arc Pittsburgh

Chaya Milchtein

Tonda Case

Nolwazi Monique LaRue Powell

Clare Kinberg

Craig Rymer

Leah Fuhr

Maria Damon

Dr. Tarece Johnson, The Global Purpose Approach

Buddy Huffaker

Kirsten Johnson

Sheila Plotkin, We the Irrelevant

Sara Goldberg

Marcy Huffaker

Jacquelyn Baldwin

Deborah Harris, Women's March Illinois

Alexis Ortiz

Minna Scherlinder Morse

Shifra Bronznick

Erica Walker, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs

Lauren Love

Ahava Wynters

Joe Austin

Jess Schwalb

Leo Ferguson

Seth Johnson

Carin Mrotz, Jewish Community Action

Eve Zack

Janie Hatton

Molly Reisman

Rabbi Alissa Wise

Jewish Voices for Peace

Noam Lerman

Tova Ztaoui

Lorraine H Malcoe, JVP Milwaukee

Sabrina Sojourner

Rabbi Alana Suskin

Margarita Garcia Rojas

Idit Klein

Susan Brooks

Levi Sable

Rachel Peric

Miriam Messinger

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick

Reuben Telushkin, JVP

Lisa Gossels

April Baskin

Tsela Barr

Elana Kahn

Max Socol

"Daniel Sieradski

The Jewish Worker"

Courtney Parker West

Scott Fried

Joe Soss

Autumn Leonard, Kolot Chayeinu

Rafael Shimunov, The Jewish Vote

Chris Messinger

Hary Hochheiser

Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim

Sonya Lymous

Sulan Mlynarek

Ginna Green

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Zahara Zahavm JFREJ

Audrey Sasson, JFREJ

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)

Lauren Berry-Kagan

Joe Ornstein

YM Carrington, Raleigh-Durham Industrial Workers of the World

Lynn Y

Kendra Watkins

Jacob Hermant

SooJi Min-Maranda

Lynn Villagran

Sam Goldberg

Jen Rubin

Megan Pamela Ruth Madison, JFREJ

Rakel Joseph

Brian Lavendel

Sarah Beck

Anna Sherman-Weiss, IfNotNow

Becca Krantz

Suheil Judeh

Elsa Auerbach, JVP Boston

Kestrel Feiner-Homer

Katie Levin

Helen Bennett

Marla Erlien, JFREJ, JVP

Anne Erde, UMass/Boston

Molly E. Mardit

Jude Wasserman

Lisa Alvarado, Artist/Author

Ariella Tilsen

Tom Corcoran

Marni Grossman

Rebecca Katz

Debbie Lubarr

Noah T. Winer

Rafael Natan

Ray Himmelman

Andy Ratto

Jeremy Rosen

Ari Bloomekatz

Jeremy Nicholson

Kavitha Kasargod-Staub

Harry Weissman

Liana Petruzzi, IfNotNow Austin

Jewish Voice for Peace/Madison Chapter

Philip Minehan, Cal State Fullerton

Sam Tunick

Steven Farber, JVP, Central Ohio

Farrell Brody, JVP, Central Ohio

Isaac Specktor

Track Trachtenberg

Lisa Tencer, INN Detroit

Josh Spitzer-Resnick, IfNotNow Twin Cities & Unviersty of Miinesota; Open Hillel

Naomi Klionsky

Tal Marom, Open Hillel

Nina Miller

Barbara Barefield, JVP-Detroit

Wendy Sacks

Barbara Harvey, JVP-Detroit

Miriam Kelberg, IfNotNow Twin Cities

Matt Clark, JVP Detroit

Franny Silverman

Kolot Chayeinu / Voices of Our Lives

Andrea Arzt, Kolot Chayeinu

Michael Friedman, JVP-Detroit

Nicole Cohen, IfNotNow Northeastern

Dylan Welch, INN & JVP - Detroit, Detroit Jews for Justice

Julian Modugno

Susan Nossal

Pamela Beck, Jewish Voice for Peace - Cleveland

Rachel Posner

Jamie Bauer

Crystal Spring

Irene Siegel, Jewish Voice for Peace-NY / JFREJ

Eileen Hamilton, JVP Cleveland

keith brooks

Adam Jacobs

Chaplain Brian A. Sieve

Elyse Max, JVP-Kansas City

Gigi Pomerantz

Reena Bernards

Maxine McKinney de Royston

Deborah Achtenberg

Ellen Rifkin

Daniel Kaplan

Jody Kuh

Lila Nasr

Marcia Meisel, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

Shira Robinson

anna berg, JVP nyc

Sherry Gorelick, JVP/NYC

Penny Rosenwasser

Marion Munk, Central Jersey JVP

Elly Bulkin, Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism

David Bragin, JVP/NYC

Judith ackerman


Judith Plaskow

Karyn Goff

Hadas Thier

Tzvia thier, JVP

Alison Rollman

Bill Baldon

Deborah Achtenberg, Dept. of Philosophy, Univ. of Nevada, Reno

Kathryn Haddad

Louis Alemayeuhu, Ancestor Energy

keith brooks

Kathryne Auerback

MaraLee Olson

Jim Thompson

Danya Reda

Jane Vega

Deborah Wilk

Catherine Shields

Talia Frolkis

John Quamme

Kurt Nicholson

Enzi Tanner

Lisa Rung

Patrick Barber

Rebekah Key


E. Joy Zarek

Michael W. Pettit

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