“It’s time for us to opt out of the racist paradigm because we are Jews”

…I call upon us all this year to reject our own self-labelling as white. I call upon all of us, the Jewish people–those of us who have skin that passes for white–to begin teaching our children that we are, nevertheless not white people. We are, and have always been–simply–Jewish people. Being Jewish is not about identifying as a race, or with any system that oppresses. The brilliance of being Jewish in all of human history is that we stubbornly refuse to fit into any social construct of power or oppression. We are simply Ivri’im, people from “somewhere else,” people who struggle with God and justice, and who demand that the rest of the world does too, and see every human life as sacred because we are all in the image of God. And the truth is, we have never belonged to one race alone. The Torah tells us that we left Egypt with the Erev Rav, with a mixed multitude of peoples. Around the world there are Jews of color, Asian Jews, Jews of all kinds. The idea that Jews are white is not only ridiculous, it’s offensive to who we really are! Yes, societies like America come along sometimes and give us privileges and even give the majority of us power labels like “white.” In the American racist social construct, Jews are very much white people, but we must never again think of ourselves that way! It’s time for us to opt out of the racist paradigm because we are Jews.

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, “Are Jews White?”, Dover Emet: Speaking the Truth (15 September 2015) [http://rabbisteinlauf.blogspot.com/2015/09/are-jews-white.html]