culture/multiculturalism · Hispanics/Latinos · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · news

The Sotomayor Effect

In this week’s Jewish Week, “The Sotomayor Effect” talks about the relationship between the Hispanic and Jewish communities. For the piece, some Latinos, some Jews and of course, some Latino Jews were interviewed.

Some good soundbites:

“Relations between the two communities are good, I think maybe better than ever,” said Moises Perez, president and CEO of the local community group Allianza Dominicana.

Go Allianza Dominicana! The article also highlights the many ways that the Latino and Jewish communities have come together to support each other, keep dialogue open and to learn about each other.

Despite this, there are still some obstacles. Check out this next quote:

“A lot of the Jewish community’s experience with Latinos might be that my housekeeper or housecleaner or my nanny is Latino,” Norek said, explaining that Jews must try to get to know Hispanic community members beyond the relationship of employee and employer.

Often, when I go over to people’s homes for Shabbat, I am the only Latino woman they know who isn’t their housekeeper, cleaner or nanny! Usually, this is a little uncomfortable for everyone: me, the Jewish employer and the Latino employee. I usually get a wide-eyed look from the Latino employee who can’t understand why some Dominican woman is at the Shabbat table, they certainly can’t imagine that I’m a Jewish Latina who hangs out with their bosses on Shabbat.

3 thoughts on “The Sotomayor Effect

  1. I would suspect that this accounts for the behaviour of some of my son's teachers at his day school in suburban Chicago. They have trouble with the idea of an Hispanic Jewish child; others however have been wonderful to him. He had an Israeli teacher for his Judaic Studies this past year who adored him and celebrated his diversity.

    Interestingly enough, the Hispanic support staff that often work in Jewish day schools embrace our family as part of “La Raza” because of our son as did my Hispanic co-workers at my former place of work. “You are one of us,” the Mexican-American Public Safety Manager once told me very proudly.


  2. I am a Sephardi, with a background in Argentina that stems back to Syria originally. Some of the other Hispanics I know consider me to be one of them; others don't, but I don't know if that has to do with Anti-Semitism or with the fact that most Argentinians are from Italy, France, Germany or some other non-Spanish-speaking country.


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