Speaker Kit

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Aliza Hausman

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Speaker, Conversion Counselor, “Rebbetzin-in-training wheels”

Extended Bio

Articles: Portfolio

Email: lajewminicana@gmail.com (email for a hard copy or PDF version)

Mini-Bio

Aliza Hausman is a Dominican-American Orthodox Jewish convert (“Jewminicana”), freelance writer, blogger, conversion counselor and speaker. She has also been published in Latina magazine, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Chronicle of London, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Chabad.orgOU.org and other publications. 

 

Speeches/Talks:

“Memoirs of a Jewminicana”

In this “performance,” Aliza tells the story of how she became Jewish: from growing up in the ghetto of Washington Heights to meeting a Holocaust survivor, coming out about her conversion to co-workers, family and friends; to giving up pants, studying in Israel and finally, becoming a Jewminicana grappling with multiple, conflicting identities. Afterwards, Aliza leads a Q&A session with the audience.

Related Reading:

“From Ghetto Girl to Rabbi’s Wife” http://joi.org/bloglinks/Conversion.pdf

“Funny You Don’t Look Jewish” http://tinyurl.com/bz3w8s

“Racism in the Jewish Community”

In this talk, given usually in conjunction with husband and Rabbi Yehuda Hausman, Jewish, secular sources along with anecdotal personal experiences are used to discuss racism in the Jewish community, how culture influences self-perception, the impact of cultural perceptions on others and how the Jewish community can move forward. Audience participation is encouraged throughout with a Q&A session to close.

Related Reading:

“A Nation Divided: Coping with Racism in the Jewish Community” http://tinyurl.com/mhh7xf

“The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking to Converts: How Converts are Changing the Face of Judaism” 

In this talk, given usually with  Rabbi Yehuda Hausman, Jewish sources, including excerpts from books on conversion and personal experiences, are used to explore some of the challenges converts face in navigating the communities they come from and the Jewish community. The effect of race and culture, family, education and contemporary Jewish views on conversion will also be discussed. Audience participation is encouraged throughout with a Q&A session to close.

 Related Reading:

“The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking to Converts” http://tinyurl.com/cz7knj

Other possible topics: interracial/multicultural marriage, living with chronic illness/fibromyalgia/Ehlers Danlos, writing, blogging, etc.

Rates: Negotiable speaking fee, plus travel expenses.

  • One-time weekday/evening speaking engagement: one talk: $ fee plus travel expenses
  • One-time Shabbos speaking engagement: one talk: $ fee plus travel expenses, etc.
  • Shabbos engagement: 2 or more talks, including Friday night or Shabbos morning/afternoon: $ fee plus travel expenses, etc.
  • Travel expenses include roundtrip car/taxi, hotel accommodations, husband’s travel expenses*

 

Media:

Interviews

#9 of JTA’s 100 Most Influential Jewish Twitters 2009 List

“Neighborhood Blog Watch” (Manhattan Times)  

 

Previous Speaking Engagements: Uri L’Tzedek, Limmud LA 2008, Limmud NY 2009 & 2010, Meorot, Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, Manhattan College, Rockland Community College, Greenwich High School, Jewish Multiracial Network 2009 retreat, SUNY Rockland Community College as well as others. 

Testimonials from the Audience

“I really enjoyed Aliza’s shtick—it makes for a great one woman show!”

Tanya Bowers

President, Jewish Multiracial Network

“I brought my students who were enrolled in the core course entitled ‘The Jewish Diaspora’ to Aliza Hausman’s presentation.  They were very impressed with her story, her personality, and her sense of humor.  It is one thing to learn about conversion to Judaism from books and lectures; it is another thing to see ‘the real thing’ in the person of a vibrant human being, openly sharing her life with the audience.”
Professor Sara Reguer

Chairperson of the Department of Judaic Studies Department, Brooklyn College

“Aliza Hausman spoke movingly at Brooklyn College where she addressed an audience of students and professors from a variety of fields and ethnic and religious backgrounds. With passion, wit, and occasional flashes of righteous wrath, she described her personal odyssey of identity, growing up in the Dominican community of Washington Heights in Manhattan, her flight from an abusive home-life, from which she eventually rescued a younger sibling, and how she pursued a career in education only to be confronted with serious chronic illness.

Increasingly attracted to Judaism as a way of life in place of her native Christianity, this led her to undertake the trials of formal conversion to Judaism and the adoption of the Orthodox Judaism, studying in both in New York and Jerusalem. On the way through her conversion and after, she has also encountered prejudiced stereotypes held by some Jews and non-Jews who find it difficult to see a woman of color with frizzy, curly hair as Jewish.

Ms. Hausman made clear that her own sense of identity is complex and that she continues to value plantains and other Dominican traditional foods, while learning to tolerate if not really like gefilte fish. Committed to living as a Jewish woman, Aliza Hausman found an empathetic soul in her husband, who is completing his studies for the Orthodox rabbinate. She is an engaging speaker who takes her audience on a voyage of discovery into life as a Jew, a woman, an ethnic Dominican, and a New Yorker.”

 

Professor Robert Moses Shapiro

Judaic Studies Department, Brooklyn College

“A combination of humor, irony and contradictions come up in Aliza Hausman’s presentations, which lead to an overall provocative and funny experience.”

 

Myra Alperson, Writer, Audience Member @ Jewish Multiracial Network Retreat 

“Aliza Hausman offers an intelligent, deep, committed, and much needed voice in the Jewish community’s conversations around identity, people-hood, and the future. Aliza educates, challenges, and supports individuals and all of Am Yisrael to grow and realize its full potential. I highly recommend her for speaking engagements. What she brings to a discussion, program, or event is unique and very valuable.”

 

Ari Hart

Co-Founder/Rabbi, Associate Rabbi, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale  

“Dynamic and spunky! That’s Aliza Hausman. She tells it like it is. She has a take-no-prisoners style of speech and will give it to you straight from the hip served up like a hot plate of pan-fried platanos! Judaism will never be the same once you hear her tough yet touching true stories of her childhood in Washington Heights New York City. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a witness to the changing face of American Judaism. She’s our Jewish Dominican treasure. Our Jew-minican treasure.”

 

Liora Harvin

Lawyer, Performing Artist

Audience Member @ Uri L’Tzedek presentation

“I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Yehuda and Aliza Hausman at the last Limmud convention in New York.  I found their presentation, which employed rabbinic sources to facilitate a discussion of issues regarding inclusion and exclusion in the contemporary American Jewish community, to be both fascinating and engaging.  I was particularly impressed by their ability to respond to the many questions and comments from the diverse crowd that came to hear their talk.”

 

David Landes

Real Estate Investor, Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology at Princeton University

Audience Member @ Limmud NY 

“Aliza Hausman illustrates her life story of her journey to Judaism with humor and liveliness. The path that led her to Judaism began at a very young age; she always felt a connection to it in spite of her catholic-Dominican upbringing. Her refreshing comedic approach to her outlandish experiences as being deemed “white” in her Dominican community and “exotic” or “other” in the Jewish community is timeless. She is a pleasure to listen to and enlightens her audience to a side of Judaism that has to date never been fully explored.

 

Elisheva Rishon-Rison

CUNY Brooklyn Graduate Student

Audience Member @ Brooklyn College Hillel

 “Yehuda and Aliza provide a powerful presentation. The subject matter is sure to challenge the notions we have about Jewish identity. They blend a combination of text and personal experiences that force us to ask questions that we do not often think about.”
Rabbi Zach Truboff

Former Meorot Fellowship Coordinator

  “We had Aliza for a Shabbaton at Brooklyn College. She spoke twice, and was side splittingly funny, and poignant.  Our students, Jews of many different backgrounds, some first or second generation immigrants from the Ukraine Russia, Lebanon, and Syria connected with her feelings of “otherness.” Her story of discovering Judaism was inspiring and at times, entertaining. Other students gained sensitivity toward accepting people who are not like them. Her story resonated with a lot of our students, and many sought her out after the talks to continue their discussion.”

Christina, teacher, via Tzipora Reitman

SUNY Rockland Community College

“I spoke with 7 students at the end of the talk, and they all said that they loved it — they thought it was really interesting, not boring, and it gave them something to think about. I also noticed that most of my students did stay to the end, and very few left or snuck out early, so I think that Aliza clearly had their attention. Also, the audience questions at the end were really interesting.

Her talk captured the students’ interest. It was “real” and provocative and the students I talked to seemed to really enjoy it. It might not have been “tame” but it was thought-provoking. I’m glad I had the opportunity to take my class.

Rabbi Reuven Boshnack

JLI on Campus Educator, Brooklyn College Hillel

“Aliza has a quick and brilliant wit and engaging presentation style! Hilarious! MANY people told me that they found her talk fascinating and wonderful.”

 

 

References: (email for contact info)

Professor Robert Y. Shapiro, Brooklyn College,

Professor Sara Reguer, Brooklyn College

Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack, JLI on Campus Educators Brooklyn College Hillel

Rabbi Elliot Kaplowitz and Toby Goldfisher Kaplowitz, Rabbi & Rebbetzin, Netivot Shalom

Tanya Bowers, Jewish Multiracial Network

Tzipora Reitman, Director of Communications, SUNY Rockland Community College

 

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