Gallery: This is Bay Area Jewry

“This Is Bay Area Jewry” is being presented in cooperation with Temple Sinai’s Gallery Sinai Visual Arts Committee. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m; and Wednesday evenings, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

An African-American woman named after a 17th century Angolan queen. A German-American gay man whose roots lie in the country’s breadbasket–the farms of Indiana.

A Hong Kong-born woman educated in Catholic schools. A Cairo-born man descended from Egyptian nobility. What do these four have in common?

They are part of an exciting, new exhibit, “This Is Bay Area Jewry,” a photo / essay exhibition on display at the Gallery Sinai at Oakland’s Temple Sinai April through June 2016 that was conceived by Lehrhaus Judaica and Building Jewish Bridges to complement an upcoming interfaith conference at the synagogue on Sun., May 22. The exhibition is a first in a series of photo essays on the changing nature of our community.

“The faces of North American Jewry have changed over the last decade or two,” said Dawn Kepler, Director of Lerhhaus’ Building Jewish Bridges program, “and my colleagues and I at Lehrhaus wanted to demonstrate how the Bay Area, already a leader in diversity, has also been in the forefront of welcoming Jews who do not necessarily fit what many see the ‘typical Jew,’ a white person of Eastern European descent.”

Indeed, while the 16 individuals and families profiled in the exhibition, which includes images by Bay Area photographer Lydia Daniller and text by San Francisco-based writer Robert Nagler Miller, include people of Ashkenazic Jewish background, a far broader cross section of Bay Area Jewry is featured: people of African, Asian, Latino and Middle Eastern heritage who were born Jewish, chose to convert to Judaism or discovered as adults that they were of Jewish extraction.

Kepler said that in selecting subjects to profile, she also considered other forms of diversity– age, geography, sexual orientation and marital status. “The exhibit includes members of the LGBTQ community, families in which one partner is Jewish and one is non-Jewish, very young children, working professionals and grandparents in their 70s and 80,” she said. “Every part of the Bay Area is represented–from as far south as Los Altos Hills to as far north as Novato and as far east as Walnut Creek, with residents of six Bay Area counties represented.”

Nzinga Kone-Miller’s profile here.

Dr. Jonathan Strober & Francisco Caravayo-Strober profile here.