Excerpt By: Aliza Hausman (Los Angeles, USA)
“According to some people being Jewish now means that I’m no longer Hispanic (I’ve gotten this one from Jews and non-Jewish Latinos alike) and according to some people being Hispanic means I can never really be Jewish (I’ve gotten this one mostly from Jews).
Some people surveying my situation have noted that as a Jewminicana, I fit innowhere because I make both the Jews and Dominicans–and even some of the Dominican Jews–of the world uncomfortable (not to mention everyone else).
After all, it is rare that I can walk away from a Spanish conversation with a non-Jewish Latino without being told that converting means I’ll go to hell for giving up Jesus. They’ll even add outright that I’m no longer Hispanic. Hispanics, like Israelis, seem to be known for their ability to cut right past the BS and be blunt and almost too forthright.
At least, MOST of the Jews I tell I’ve converted won’t tell me to my face that they don’t think I’m REALLY Jewish. Some have, of course. But hey, some Jews of color have even said I don’t qualify as a Jew of color because I’m not black or brown enough. Well, check out my Los Angeles tan, people, because those brown-skindedroots underneath my olive-skinned veneer are officially showing.
But it is often when I presume that being a Jewminicana means I fit in everywhere or at least “somewhere in-between” that someone points out that my identity gives them a headache or can’t exist in a reality outside my afro-covered head. Still, last time I check (hold on, let me pinch myself again), I exist. And I’m not even the only Jewminicana…or as my cousin lovingly noted when I pointed out I wasn’t the only Dominican Jew: “I thought you were like a rare white panda! But there are MORE of you?!””
See more of her writings at: