Ammud: Empowering Jews of Color Through Jewish Education
August 18th, 2022
Ammud is truly a space where I feel I can bring all the facets of my multi-cultural Jewish identity, and also wrestle with thought-provoking concepts amongst like-minded peers. With each course, I feel I learn more about myself and grow more confident in my identity as a Jew of Color.
—Emily McDonnell (she/her)
Since 2019, Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy has worked to build a more vibrant and equitable future for all Jews by providing Jews of Color with access to Jewish education that empowers them to be members and leaders of the broader Jewish community. Ammud members, which include Jews of Color and non JoC allies, are part of a community that receives personalized support as they gather and learn unchallenged in their Jewishness.
Ammud leadership is driven by the belief that Jews of Color deserve to study the depths of Torah, become Hebrew experts, and fulfill their Jewish educational goals without worrying about experiencing racism. Hebrew classes give members the knowledge and confidence they need to study Jewish texts in an environment that cultivates belonging and a Jewish community. Ammud’s rabbinical team leads popular weekly Parasha study classes, during which members dive deep into learning the beauty of Torah and share their unique and inspiring takes on the week’s Parasha. And Ammud’s rabbis are available as needed to the Ammud JoC community, whether to study a Jewish text more in-depth, for support on navigating life cycle events, to discuss a path to the rabbinate; or for guidance through personal challenges.
When Jews of Color enter Ammud, they know they’re in a space designed to make them feel beloved, in which there is no limit to where their Jewish education can go.
I’ve had such beautiful experiences with Lomdim courses I’ve taken with Ammud, and feel so affirmed in my Judaism as a result. Everyone from the teachers to the Ammud staff to fellow classmates have taught me how vital the Torah of Jews of Color is. For the first time, I feel like Judaism has reached my actual cells, rather than remaining mostly in my head. When I think about how grateful I am that this space and all of the people in it exist, I am humbled. Thanks to Ammud, I’ve made some precious new friendships and reinvented Jewish rituals that I will treasure forever.
—Kristin Eriko Posner (she/her)
Ammud is working toward its vision with long-term plans to invest in its teachers and their growth through professional development. Many Ammud teachers say the opportunity to teach their Torah to other Jews of Color gives them the comfortable space they need to become leaders in Jewish education. And many Ammud members say their learning experiences prepare them to go back into the larger Jewish community with strength and resilience. With this approach—and subsequent impact—Ammud ensures that Jews of Color are present in wider Jewish communities, particularly in the Jewish professional world.
Although I have taught in a variety of Jewish settings, teaching for Ammud was a uniquely rewarding experience. Not only did I feel more comfortable as a teacher, I also knew that Ammud’s by-JOC, for-JOC approach made it possible for me to share Torah with Jews who might not feel welcome in other Jewish learning spaces.
—Daniel Delgado (he/him), ALEPH Ordination Program rabbinic student, Earth-based Judaism track
Building on its early success, Ammud looks to double its program offerings over the next year to increase engagement, while laying the foundation for even greater scale in years to come. In Ammud’s dynamic space, more Jews of Color will be able to study the depths of Torah, become Hebrew experts, and fulfill their Jewish educational goals.
Learn more at ammud.org. The Jim Joseph Foundation is a supporter of Ammud.