Exhibition on display June 12 – Sept. 8

An African-American woman named after a 17th century Angolan queen. A German-American gay man whose roots lie in the country’s breadbasket–the farms of Indiana.

A Hong Kong-born woman educated in Catholic schools. A Cairo-born man descended from Egyptian nobility. What do these four have in common?

They are part of an exciting exhibit, “This Is Bay Area Jewry,” a photo / essay exhibition on display at the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael June 12 – August 25 that was conceived by Lehrhaus Judaica and Building Jewish Bridges. The exhibition is a series of photo essays on the changing nature of our community.

“The faces of North American Jewry have changed over the last decade or two,” said Dawn Kepler, Director of Lerhhaus’ Building Jewish Bridges program, “and my colleagues and I at Lehrhaus wanted to demonstrate how the Bay Area, already a leader in diversity, has also been in the forefront of welcoming Jews who do not necessarily fit what many see the ‘typical Jew,’ a white person of Eastern European descent.”

Indeed, while the 19 individuals and families profiled in the exhibition, which includes images by Bay Area photographers Kelley Cox and Lydia Daniller and text by Chicago-based writer Robert Nagler Miller, include people of Ashkenazic Jewish background, a far broader cross section of Bay Area Jewry is featured: people of African, Asian, Latino and Middle Eastern heritage who were born Jewish, chose to convert to Judaism or discovered as adults that they were of Jewish extraction.

Kepler said that in selecting subjects to profile, she also considered other forms of diversity– age, geography, sexual orientation and marital status. “The exhibit includes members of the LGBTQ community, families in which one partner is Jewish and one is non-Jewish, very young children, working professionals and grandparents in their 70s and 80,” she said. “Every part of the Bay Area is represented–from as far south as Los Altos Hills to as far north as Novato and as far east as Walnut Creek, with residents of six Bay Area counties represented.”