The Bay Area Sephardic Leaders Fellowship is a six-month program designed for local Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish communal professionals, lay leaders, and allies, to gain traditional Middle-Eastern Jewish knowledge, build a community of practice and friendship, and learn new leadership skills. Each fellow will participate in bimonthly learning and engagement sessions facilitated by top Mizrahi and Sephardic thought-leaders from around the world. Participants are tasked with bringing their new-found knowledge and skills back to their Jewish institution in an effort to help the Bay Area Jewish community become more diverse, inclusive, and better representative of Sephardic and Mizrahi heritage.
What is the need for the Bay Area Sephardic Leaders Fellowship?
Scholars estimate that Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews may comprise over 20% of North America’s Jewish population. Despite these high numbers, North American Jewish communities, including those in the San Francisco Bay Area, are culturally, spiritually, pedagogically, and ethnically defined by dominant Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews are underrepresented in professional and Jewish communal lay positions in our community. Those Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders who are Sephardic and Mizrahi are often disconnected from their traditional heritage and yearning for meaningful learning and engagement opportunities.
There is a need to empower local Sephardic and Mizrahi professionals, potential leaders, and allies with traditional Sephardic knowledge and opportunities for community building, study, networking, and leadership training. By doing so we can empower trained community assets to lead efforts at a number of Jewish institutions to ensure that Mizrahi and Sephardic individuals, culture, and communities are seen, heard, considered, and included. This in turn can help contribute to increased participation and engagement of Mizrahi, Sephardic, and Israeli Jews in mainstream Jewish communal life in the Bay Area.