Fifty Shades of Jews

On the occasion of Israel’s 67th birthday, the Jewish Voice has chosen to celebrate the immense diversity of the Jewish nation. The population of world Jewry today stands at close to 13 milliion. While we are no doubt the smallest of all nations in terms of numbers, it is clear that we hail from the four corners of the globe. We live in over 200 countries and speak over 100 languages. Our cultural heritage is drawn from the lands of our antecedents yet we have emerged with contemporary eclectic tastes and perspectives. We are anybody and everybody ; our skin colors span the gamut. We are devoutly religious; we are atheists; we are rabbinic leaders, politicians, bankers, entertainers, army officers, philanthropists, astronauts, teachers, lawyers, artists, models, athletes and just about any profession that you can conjure up. In this pictorial overview of the fifty shades of Jew, we explore the pious lives of the Torah observant as well as the secular, as they meet at the crossroads of history.

We introduce you to a family of Jews living in Pune, India as they maintain their tradition. Believe it ot not, Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history and the Bene Israel arrived in the state of Maharashtra 900 years ago. Did you know that as of July 2014, Sheldon Adelson was listed by Forbes as having a fortune of $36.4 billion, making him the 8th richest person in the world? Well, this remarkable Jewish philanthropist represents a true “rags to riches” story. Having grown up in a poor family in the Dorchester section of Boston, Mr. Adelson eventually climbed the ladder of material success but never forgot his people. His exceptional contributions to the State of Israel are incomparable.

Did you know that Lipa Schmeltzer; one of today’s most popular singers in the Jewish world is known for revolutionizing the Hassidic music industry by fusing traditional lyrics with rock and jazz? Did you know that the Bucharian Jews are considered one of the oldest ethno-religious groups of Central Asia, and have created and preserved their own distinct culturual songs, dress, dishes, and customs? Did you know that the core population of Jews living in China today is approximately 2500 and many of them lay tefillin and pray in a synagogue in Kaifeng? Did you know that Sephardic Jewish musicians dressed in traditional robes can be seen outside the Western Wall in Jerusalem playing ‘darbukas,’ Arabic goblet-shaped drums that are hollowed out and create loud, rhythmic tunes?

On this Yom Ha’atzmaut, we cordially invite you to join us as we introduce you to the countless shades of Jews in this world !!!

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