Gregory Ruderman Valencia, CA In most ways, being Jewish in modern America is significantly easier than at any time in the past, such as when my grandfather got his degree at MIT, something Jews typically couldn’t do in his era, but there are times when the discrimination is more insidious. From the supposed “war on […]
David Wandel, Madison, WI. Great Project and interviews……
Chantal Thomas San Jose, CA
Brian Chapman Portland, OR I discovered, in my 40s, that my ethnicity and my ancestry were not what I had been led to believe. For mysterious reasons (anti-Semitism) my father concocted a fictional back story that became how my brothers and I viewed ourselves. Now, with knowledge of a different cultural identity but absolutely no […]
Yonatan Bryant, Redwood City, CA. White people have been trying to kill my people for 2000+years. I think that gives us an out on being part of any “race”.
BJ Diamond, West Hartford, CT. Just married, moved from East Coast to Midwest, found a job as an urban planner for the county. First woman in a professional position at the agency. The other women were administrative staff. I was always asked to fill in for them if they were short-handed (e.g., please get the […]
Allyson Enelow, Yardley, PA.
Judith A Harper, Pikesville, MD. Years ago our family integrated a Predominantly Jewish neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. I am African-American. While walking our German shepherd, I was approached by an elderly woman who asked if she could ask a ‘personal’ question. It was the question submitted. For a moment, I was speechless, but then […]
Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my […]
Duryan Bhagat-Clark, Aberdeen, NJ. My father is an immigrant from Bombay, India. He moved here to go to college and graduate school. He is Muslim. While working at Rutgers University he met my mother; she is Jewish. They were married within a year. As I often joke, I know there will never be peace in […]
Brian Isaac Rizowy, Israel. Born and raised in the USA to Jewish parents, one from Sarandi Grande, Uruguay, the other from Chicago, I am nearly 100% Polish, with a dash of Russian and Mongolian thrown in. My great grandmother hid her Asian features with swanky glasses from the 1940s and 50s, lest anyone suspect her […]
Tamara G. Cincinnati, OH When thinking of which six words I would use for The Race Card Project I had to ponder for a bit. I automatically thought of the fact that I am Jewish. Being so, I often get questioned about what holidays I celebrate or why we do certain things. Going to BGSU […]
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Linda Kuriloff, New York, NY. I once had an interview for a job at a company where the owner was Orthodox. I realized when he shook my hand that he was battling with his conscience because he probably expected that I was Jewish.
Victoria, Salem, OR. As a biracial person, people often ask me, “what ethnicity are you?” – aka what race can I define you as? People who first meet me will ask me this question without ever asking for my name. They seem to only care about what I am not who I am. However, I […]
Nicole Rice, San Juan Capistrano, CA. I am more than just ‘white’ even though everyone looks at me and says that is all I am. I have a lot more in me than just white, but no one will ever know unless they ask. I have even received the nickname ‘white rice’ because of my […]
Anonymous, Baltimore, MD. When people discuss race, they seem to refer to only people of color. I always check Caucasian on forms. At the doctors yesterday, there was a new option, Eastern European. It felt like a better fit for me. Just because my skin lacks pigment, doesn’t mean that I am the same as […]
Priya Charry, Middletown, CT. Much too complicated to be expressed in a single word. Jewish father of Eastern European descent, Trinidadian mother of Indian descent.
Casey Barnes, Kansas City, MO.
Liza Frolkis, Nevada City, CA. I understand that because modern Jews are descended from multiple populations that ‘Judaism’ is not technically a race. But the truth is that as a student of history and with a serious soft-spot for little things like social justice, the innate right of all human beings to life, liberty and […]
Sarah Elizabeth Rosen, Laguna Hills, CA. I did not choose to be Jewish. But, I have come to realize as I got older to appreciate who I am and how my religion is important to me. People think I am Mexican because I am tan, but really I am a Eastern European Jew. When I […]
Claire Wallick Moy, Maplewood, NJ. This is what I was asked in 1998 when I moved to NJ. Our 3 children look much more like their father than me. so many girls have been adopted from China in this generation, but not boys. A white Jewish woman with an Asian looking boy is outside of […]
Shava, Lake Oswego, OR. At times it can be confusing. I have wondered where I fit in. But in the end…I’m so glad to have the depth of experience that being multicultural has given me. I’m black, white and I’m Jewish. It’s amazing!
Signe Wendt, Austin, TX. Jewish by heritage when I began to worship Jesus I was told I was no longer Jewish and I had to pick one.Now I try to connect Christians to their faith as a yoga teacher and I am not sure who is more uncomfortable with that. Yogis (at least in Austin) […]
Anna Goldstein, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project=- University of Michigan
Jake Abraham, Statesboro, GA. I get attacked for religion and skin color and have to live my life walking a completely separate spiritual path than the social norm.
Gloria Gordon, Santa Fe, NM. Married in 1966. Divorced after 11 years.
Giovanna, Atlanta, GA. I am a second generation American Jew (meaning none of my family members ever owned another human being) I was raised to treat everyone for who they are – not outward appearance – I just moved to the south and have experienced something entirely different. In a city full of educated, eloquent […]
Rabbi Justin Kerber, Saint Louis, MO. I may be “white.” But my grandparents and great-grandparents weren’t “white,” they were Jews! The distinction had implications and consequences — lethal for some of them. In my work as a rabbi and hospital chaplain I must see all people as created in G1d’s image and likeness, yet must […]
Jodi Su Tharan, Berkeley, CA. My family is Jewish, Apache Chiricahua, additional hidden tribes that still remained unnamed after years of research, Welsh, Scots, Irish, English and probably more. We joke that we are ‘the great unwashed’..not nice but in a way reclaiming the history of poor folks from all over becoming the beauty of […]
Zachary Hill, New Rochelle, NY.
S. Dreyfuss, Novato, CA. Sometimes I call myself The Last Unicorn, after the silly 1980’s movie about a unicorn, the only one of her kind, that goes searching for evidence of others. Growing up with the unusual combination of Samoan/Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve always wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. Any single […]
Joseph Ratner, Morrisville, NC. This is interesting because as a child friends would ask me what I was nationality and I always said Jewish. As I got older I had to evaluate the reasons and now at half a century old I think I get it now Being Jewish is an identity. we have Jewish […]
Laura Abercrombie, Mulberry, FL. I am a 27 year old biracial (mother black, father Russian and Romanian Jewish descent) woman. I was born and raised in NY, transplanted to rural Fl when I was a teen. I am also one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Basically, I’m very used to being on the fringes, the “token”, the […]
Rosa Friedman, Philadelphia, PA. My grandparents came to this country as children of Jewish families from eastern Europe. In order to become accepted as part of the racial elite and gain access to white privilege, they had to leave behind the things that distinguished them, their culture, language, and values. Now there is a hole […]
James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]
Jan Spooner, Tucson, AZ. As a white American, I don’t have a strong feeling of culture. My African American, Jewish, Native American and Hispanic friends can all talk about a strong cultural background. Their stories reflect their heritage and what it means to belong to their ethnic group. What is my culture and what are […]
Chloe Kandel Wong, Douglaston, NY.
Joseph Conway, Baltimore, MD. She showed support and she was brave a 33 year old Jewish neighbor of mine wanted to see how a black funeral was,we all embraced her.
Michel Bassadon, White Plains, NY. I was born in Morocco. My mother was Austrian and my father Jewish Moroccan, known as Sephardic. In high school some of my peers said my accent was French, others said it was Spanish. They decided I was from Monaco, especially since my first name was French. For a long […]
Larry, Orlando, FL. In closing up my elderly parents’ home, I was given some family news I did not expect from a relative I haven’t kept up with. It seems she did genealogical research and found out my grandmother’s family was deported in 1912 because they were Jewish. They came to America again a few […]
Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it […]
Josie H Australia I am a Catholic Indian. The middle school I went to was not Catholic, and when I graduated into high school (which was Catholic), I ended up in the top Religion class, getting 80% + in all my tests. One day,a boy asked me disbelievingly, “You went to a non-Catholic primary school? […]
Davis Apseloff Dunwoody, GA
Alexis Danzig New York City, NY Manhattan This exhibit moved me to tears. I am so proud of the Brooklyn Museum, delighted to see the work of my college art teacher, May Stevens! I was wishing I could share the experience with my mother, Naomi Danzig. My mother was born into the modern Jewish orthodox […]
Davis Apseloff Dunwoody, GA
Benjamin Donguk Lukoff, Seattle, WA. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: Seattle Community Colleges Biracial and multiracial people often feel left out of the conversation on race. I’d like to see that change.
Richard Stein San Juan Capistrano, CA Judah Philip Benjamin, QC (August 6, 1811 – May 6, 1884) was an American politician, lawyer, and slaveholder who served in cabinet level positions in the Confederate States of America, including Secretary of War and Secretary of State. It was a shock for me, a Jew, to learn that […]
Beth A New Haven, CT My worst experience was in graduate school when an educated adult from a wealthy Connecticut town said “Oh, so THAT’s what a Jew looks like.” My response was “No. That’s what THIS Jew looks like.” Racism is not just about skin color. I have always embraced diversity and have a […]
Elizabeth D. Minneapolis, MN Jewish and Christian?!?! Yep! Jewish by heritage, Christian by religion.
Stephen Glicksman Teaneck, NJ
Josh Van De Riet Washington, DC
Aaron Reich Boca Raton, FL I am white and Jewish and I sometimes get insulted by others for being Jewish. The insults are mostly meant to be taken as jokes, but sometimes they are too far. I’d rather if they weren’t said.
Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]
Melissa Rabinowitz Dallas, TX
Anonymous USA Child of holocaust survivors, saddened by all hatred
Alexandra Vogt Crofton, MD Because I was not raised in the Jewish faith, I feel unable to claim my ancestry on my father’s side the way I do with the family history on my mother’s side (Norwegian immigrants.) I wish there were commonly used terms that differentiated Jewish ethnicity from the religion.
Michelle Westmiller Los Angeles, CA
Johnathan Neufeld Canada Throughout my entire life, people have judged me because my last name is German and Jewish. People have simply assumed that I was Jewish, so they always inquired about my religion, even though I’m an atheist, and German, so they’ve inquired about my family history dating back to the World Wars, even […]
Naomi Raquel Enright Brooklyn, NY My father was Jewish-American of Eastern European ancestry and my mother is from Guayaquil, Ecuador of African, Spanish, and Native American ancestry. I am bilingual, born in La Paz, Bolivia, raised in NYC and a citizen of all three countries. I am now married to an American of Irish and […]
Lesley Krane Los Angeles , CA
Anonymous, Austin, TX I’ve always found it troubling to see the look on people’s faces when they find out I’m Jewish, as if I had been hiding some terrible secret from them. For my own amusement, I then let them know I am a white South African.
Safra Altman Savannah, GA I was pregnant with my black, white, Jewish, Gullah-Geechee son when Trayvon Martin was killed. Our son is 9 months old.
Rebecca Gundzik Studio City, CA We left a small town in Central Oregon because my then middle-school age daughter was being subjected to severe incidents of anti-semitism. She was one of about 7-8 Jewish kids in a school of 1000. Swastikas were written on her notebook and papers during class, kids yelled “Heil Hitler!” when […]
Thomas Larsen Ann Arbor, MI I have said it over and over, that I actually am not Jewish, but every time I say so they give a start of surprise.
Ari Cicurel Ann Arbor, MI
Ashley Roth Elon, NC People always tell me I don’t look Jewish. Is that supposed to be a compliment or something?
Corey Schutzman Exeter, NH Here in southern New Hampshire I seem to be the anomaly as opposed to where I grew up in northern New Jersey. I am fine with people asking questions, but the problem with this statement is it seems as if people (and I do mean “people”, I have heard this on […]
Leonard Fribourg Mission Viejo, CA I worked swap meets for many years and was always astounded when folks would ask if they could “Jew me down” and think nothing of it.
Audrey Friedman Minneapolis, MN Said to me many times during my life. I never knew how to reply to that statement.
Anonymous Am I allowed to have an opinion
Cynthia Ruccia Columbus, OH I am white but Jewish, and I grew up in a time when the Jews were barred from many many things because of our religion. My brother and I were the only Jews in our school and I was constantly chased around being called “dirty Jew” and “Christ killer” and told […]
Katherine Kraff Denver, CO I tend not to take negative comments about (race), religion or ethnicity personally (esp from children), but when I was teaching High School and didn’t take the day off on a Jewish Holiday (most of the other Jewish teachers and children did), my colleagues and students alike assumed that I was […]
Mitzi Zohar Outside USA I would reply that my mother’s mother was sixth generation Canadian. Growing up in a wealthy WASP enclave my questioners wouldn’t leave me alone until I had admitted to having three Eastern European Jewish grandparents. Having buttonholed me the questioners would lose interest.
Jessamyn CT My parent’s generation lost relatives in Europe for being part of the “Jewish race.” In America, they dealt with antisemitism and quotas until one day, they were suddenly “white.” Now American Muslims feel the lash of religious discrimination. And yet … even as we think antisemitism is over, someone bombs a synagogue in […]