LUNAR’s Purpose and Values

LUNAR’s Purpose:

LUNAR cultivates connection, belonging and visibility for Asian American Jews through authentic multimedia storytelling and intersectional community programming.

LUNAR’s Values:

  • By us for us: We strive for our leadership to reflect the identities of our community. Our offerings are rooted in our community’s most pressing needs.
  • Embodying Authenticity: We showcase the honest and nuanced textures of being an Asian American Jew. We want our work to feel organic and accessible to our audience.
  • Practicing Inclusivity: We recognize the broad range of cultures in the Asian and Jewish communities. We respect and welcome Asian American Jews of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, religious/secular backgrounds, and gender expressions/identities. Inclusivity is something we continuously practice, refine, and ingrain into our work.
  • Honoring Nuance: We are committed to maintaining respectful discourse and making space for nuance and varied perspectives in our diverse community.
  • Embracing Joy: Amid ongoing hatred and violence targeting our communities, it is essential that we celebrate and find joy in who we are.

Season 2 Episodes

(For Season 1 Episodes, click on link to LUNAR’s YouTube channel on side bar)

Meet the Team

Davi Cheng

Art Director

×
Davi Cheng
Art Director

Davi Cheng is a graphic designer in Los Angeles. Born in Hong Kong, Davi immigrated to the United States with her family when she was fourteen. In addition to her rich Chinese heritage, Davi has embraced Judaism and is actively involved in her synagogue and the larger Jewish community. Davi’s art work reflects the diverse aspects of her life and the unique perspective it has given her, she like to combine traditional methods of drawing and painting by hand with advanced digital design techniques and has created original Jewish art with a Chinese flare. Davi is one of 54 women Jewish artists of the “Women of the Book” project – A visual, midrashic (interpretive) scroll based on the form and content of a traditional Torah scroll and created on 54 parchment panels (the number of Torah portions) by 54 Jewish women artists from around the world. Davi has designed, co-fabricated and installed an original large-scale stained-glass window project at her Los Angeles synagogue Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC). Her installation includes a Ner Tamid (Eternal light fixture) made with 1,000+ one-inch glass squares, and a set of stained glass Ark doors, glass Mezuzah and glass-stone magnets for the memorial board (in lieu of light bulbs).

Davi has served as the Executive Vice President at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Pacific Southwest Regional Board and she is the Past President of Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), “House of New Life,” the original gay and lesbian synagogue.

Davi is the co-founder of a Klezmer band, “Gay Gezunt.” where she plays the trumpet and French horn, she also sings in the choir. In addition to her interests in art and music, Davi holds a second-degree black belt in Judo. Davi holds an A.A. in Graphic Design from Platt College and a B.A. degree in Biological Science from the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her spouse and life-partner (40 years and counting), Bracha Yael, who was selected in 2008 as one of Top Ten Mensches by Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Bracha and Davi often co-lead Shabbat services as lay leaders.

Jared Chiang-Zeizel

Creative Producer

×
Jared Chiang-Zeizel
Creative Producer

Jared Chiang-Zeizel is an LA-based writer, editor, and producer. Growing up he never found himself fully part of any community — not quite Asian enough, not quite Jewish enough. A compulsive daydreamer, he often would dive into his imagination and explore fantastical worlds and stories. It wasn’t until after he graduated college that he realized that this pull towards fantasy stemmed from a life of otherism and a lack of community. Nowadays, he’s drawn to projects and ideas that feature mixed individuals and third culture kids. He hopes that being part of the LUNAR projects will further his curiosity and understanding of himself and those like him.

Maryam Chisthti

Maryam Chishti

Community Organizer

×
Maryam Chishti
Community Organizer

Maryam Chishti is a proud “Mus Jew” who works in the political/arts space in New York City, with a soft spot for work that intersects the two. She is interfaith, with an Indian/Muslim father and Jewish American mother who raised her in both religions and cultures. Maryam received a B.A. from Brandeis University in American Studies and Theater for Social Change. Outside of Lunar, she runs a new Moishe House in New York City and is passionate and excited to bring more Asian Jews into the growing community.

Is Perlman

Is Perlman

Communication Coordinator

×
Is Perlman
Communication Coordinator

Is Perlman (they/them) is a transgender, Asian-Jewish artist, poet, designer, and student living in Miami Beach, FL. They are passionate about the intersections of LGBTQ+ advocacy, arts accessibility, and representation of people of color in Jewish spaces. Perlman works in these areas through organizations such as Keshet, Jews Against Marginalization, Culture Shock Miami, and The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth. In 2021, they were named a YoungArts winner in Visual Arts and Writing (Spoken Word). They work primarily in installation and performance art, exploring connections between transgender identity and Judaism. In their free time, they enjoy spending time with their family, doing karaoke, and hanging out with their English teachers. This fall, Perlman is starting their undergraduate education at Columbia University in the City of New York.

Jenni Rudolph

Executive Creative Director

×
Jenni Rudolph
Executive Creative Director

Jenni Rudolph is a Los Angeles-based songwriter, vocalist, and vocal producer, with a broader background in media production. Jenni was featured in Jubilee Media’s “Do All Multiracial People Think The Same?”, and has created a song, music video, and upcoming documentary, “Water & Oil,” about mixed identity in collaboration with a team of mixed creatives.

Gen Slosberg

Gen Slosberg

Executive Producer

×
Gen Slosberg
Executive Producer

Gen Xia Ye Slosberg is a writer, community organizer, and Jewish non-profit professional based in the Bay Area. Gen was born and raised in Southern China and moved to the United States as a teenager. She received her B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley in December 2020. She hopes to foster a sense of shared identity among participants in LUNAR and increase the visibility of Asian Americans in the Jewish community.

FAQ

What kind of videos will LUNAR be making, and what topics will they touch on?

We will be filming, editing and promoting a series of 5-8 videos. Five of the videos will be five to ten minutes, covering each of the following sub-themes in the context of Jewish Asian American identity — finding community, food, language, stereotypes & the model minority myth, and cultural values. The rest (number of videos TBD) will be 20-30 minute in-depth interviews about a specific Jewish Asian American intersection – we have already filmed a Jewish & Chinese in-depth video, and we plan to add at least two more identity intersections to the series, depending on the participants who are cast.

Please note that these themes and content structure are tentative, and we are eager to hear insights from our team and cast on how we can improve or change our content design to be more inclusive, engaging and relevant. We will collectively as a team + cast finalize our content design together.

What inspired you to create LUNAR?

This project was inspired by five young Chinese and Jewish womxn, who came together through Facebook and gathered on Zoom to talk about our experiences with our racial and cultural identities. Choosing such a specific identity intersection allowed our discussion to start with more common ground and uncover more nuances. While we could relate to each other on a deeper level due to our similar racial identities, we still had drastically different lived experiences. Having this opportunity allowed us to feel affirmed and heard, so we were compelled to bring this experience to more Jewish and Asian American individuals and showcase the video products to our broader communities.

Why is the project called LUNAR?

We named this project LUNAR because it is an accessible, clear way to represent the intersection of Jewish and Asian-American identities. Both Jewish and some Asian cultural holidays are based on lunisolar calendars, and the moon holds symbolic significance in many Asian cultures and literature traditions. The moon also represents how many multicultural folks navigate our connection to our distinct yet fluid identities. Different facets of our identities can cause us to present different “faces” based on the space or community we are in, just like the moon.

Additionally, we wanted to move away from naming in Hebrew, a practice common in Jewish communal organizations, because both creators had experienced feeling as if Jewish content was not accessible due to the use of Hebrew words without explanation or context. We wanted to hold that as multicultural Jews, we have varying (dis)connections to our Jewish identity – while Hebrew/language in general is a powerful tool of connecting to Judaism for some of us, for others it may be an additional barrier to further engagement with Jewish life.

Why does the project not include Pacific Islanders, given the common label “Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)”?

For the purposes of this project, we decided to forego the AAPI label and instead just use Asian American. As an exclusively Asian-American team of creators, we do not feel that we have the proper resources or knowledge to fully represent and portray Pacific Islander experiences, and we would not want to include PIs in a topical and tokenizing manner. We consulted with some PI folks in our network, and they agreed that using the label “Asian American” exclusively would be more accurate for our project, and an act of allyship to PI communities through foregoing the harmful lumping that comes with the AAPI identifier. We hope to see future efforts specifically highlighting Pacific Islanders in the Jewish community, and we are eager to uplift the work of folks in that identity intersection.

What organizations are involved with LUNAR?

We are partnering with Be’chol Lashon to host our content on their blog and social media platforms. Be’chol Lashon (Hebrew for “in every language”), founded in 2000, strengthens Jewish identity by raising awareness about the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience. We are also generously funded by the Jews of Color Initiative’s mini-grant program. The Jews of Color Initiative is a national effort focused on building and advancing the professional, organizational and communal field for Jews of Color.