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A Faith’s Diverse Faces on Display

“Jews of Color” exhibition opens at Hillel gallery

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In the slide show above, photojournalist Jay Sand describes the Jewish communities that are the focus of the exhibition Scattered Among the Nations Presents Jews of Color: In Color! at Boston University’s Florence and Chafetz Hillel House.

Most of today’s nearly 14 million Jews live in Israel and major cities in North America and Western Europe. But there are also vibrant Jewish communities in places like Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, Peru, and even the Brazilian Amazon. And although they are isolated from other Jewish communities, they all share a rich heritage.

These lesser-known Jewish communities are the focus of an exhibition at the Rubin-Frankel Gallery at Boston University’s Florence and Chafetz Hillel House created by the nonprofit Scattered Among the Nations, which is dedicated to educating the world about the diversity of the Jewish people and assisting and documenting geographically and politically isolated Jewish or Judaism-practicing communities. Scattered Among the Nations Presents Jews of Color: In Color! is at the gallery through February 28.

“You might come into the exhibit with the idea that Jews have a particular way of doing things,” says Jay Sand, a photojournalist with the organization, “and the hope is that you’ll come out with the idea that what unifies Jews is different from what you wear, how you look, or what you eat.”

In addition to color photographs, the exhibition will feature African pottery from Boston’s Pucker Gallery. “The pottery creates a three-dimensional context for the photographs,” says gallery director Bernie Pucker, “and it is our hope that visitors will connect with the people who use them.”

Among the lesser-known communities featured in the photographs are the Abayudaya (Jewish people) of Uganda. Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, an ethnomusicologist who produced the Grammy-nominated album Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda, discussed their music and culture on February 13. Bryan Schwartz, president of Scattered Among the Nations, will visit Hillel on Sunday, February 24, at 1:30 p.m. to discuss what he learned while photographing and writing about the Jewish communities that appear in the exhibition.

Scattered Among the Nations Presents Jews of Color: In Color! runs through February 28 at the Rubin-Frankel Gallery at Boston University’s Florence and Chafetz Hillel House, 213 Bay State Rd. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Photographs by Bryan Schwartz, Jay Sand, and Sandy Carter.
Music provided by Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, from the album
Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda.

Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu.

2 Comments

2 Comments on A Faith’s Diverse Faces on Display

  • Linda Zimmerman on 02.14.2008 at 2:58 pm

    Jews of Color

    I have not looked at BU Today for a few days.
    But, today, I noticed the article on the Jews of Color exhibit.
    There was a recent article on the Jewish community in China in the Boston Globe so I was intrigued by the headline. Having grown up as an Ashkenashi (US)
    Caucasian Jew it is always so fascinating to me to see Jews from other countries taking part in similar rituals. I love seeing how the culture of the country influences the practice of Judaism. Anyway, I enjoyed the slide show and hope to visit the exhibit. Good job!

  • Lisa Hartman on 02.21.2008 at 11:51 am

    Jews of Color

    Thank you for putting the slide show about “Scattered Among the Nations” at the BU Hillel on the website. So inspiring to see and hear Jews from far-away places who share attributes with Jews in America, and are at the same time so different. This connection makes the world smaller, and helps me feel closer to others regardless of race or religion.

    I have forwarded the website link to friends in my community.

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