As the American Jewish community commits itself to building a more diverse and inclusive landscape, the Sephardic Leadership Institute will serve as a hub for training, networking, and knowledge for Jewish communal leaders and institutions who are actively working to become more inclusive of diverse Jews, including those of Sephardic and Mizrahi descent. The integration of traditional Sephardic knowledge and modalities into Jewish communal spaces has the potential to broaden and strengthen communal understandings and Jewish approaches to issues of diversity, inclusion, contemporary political issues, and Jewish identities and experiences. One major goal of the institute is to utilize the knowledge, expertise, and evolving Sephardi approaches of rabbis, scholars, thought-leaders, educators, and activists in formulating recommendations and guidance for the larger Jewish community on how to actively become more inclusive not just of Sephardic Jews, but of Jews of diverse backgrounds.
During phase one of the Sephardic Jewish American Research Study it became abundantly clear that American Sephardic Leadership is in need of a centralized communal infrastructure that provides a space for Sephardic leaders to engage in community building, learning, publishing, and convenings. Such a space will provide a platform for Sephardic leaders to showcase and share their knowledge and expertise with the larger Jewish community.
Utilizing a community-based coalition model, the national Sephardic Leadership Institute will aim to build a democratic hub and convening space that provides services for every single Sephardic Jewish communal professional and institution in the United States. While this goal may seem ambitious, through phase one of the research and through years of work with Sephardic Jewish leaders and community members, JIMENA has observed a deep yearning and need from Sephardic leaders and emergent leaders for this type of coalition.
Proposed activities of the Sephardic Research Institute Include:
- National conferences and regular meetings for Sephardic Leaders
- Sephardic Communal Coalition building activities
- Training and leadership development opportunities for Jews of all backgrounds
- Producing a toolkit and training module of recommendations from Sephardic communal leaders on building a community that is inclusive of Jews of all backgrounds – including Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Middle Eastern Jews