One of the primary findings from the study was that multicultural Jews often experience a sense of isolation in an American Jewish community largely characterized by historic immigration from Eastern. Focus groups participants requested a opportunity to meet again, some never having met other Jews like themselves. Diane organized a Hanukkah celebration at the Women’s Building in December, 2000, a seminal event at which Be’chol Lashon was born. From this gathering, the Be’chol Lashon Advisory Committee was launched to guide and participate in this innovative endeavor including planning programs, serving as volunteers and role models. The members represented the various target populations—Black, Asian, Latino and mixed-race Jews. The research also revealed that most diverse Jews seek a variety of events reflecting various parts of their identity, and that they to see themselves reflected in Jewish life, and diverse role models are particularly important. Bay Area Be’chol Lashon programming was a case study in outreach to marginalized Jews, fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness while celebrating holidays or special events.

Photo: Dr. Denise Davis, the current Be’chol Lashon Advisory Board president, in 2000, with her daughter Aviva, who now attends Brandeis University.