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Ilana Kaufman: The Outsider’s Insider

A queer Jewish woman of color, Ilana Kaufman, 47, has emerged as a national voice for diversity and inclusivity. For years she has pushed for policy changes to make Jews of color and LGBTQ Jews more welcome in Jewish institutions. It’s only fitting that this year she was named director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, placing her at the forefront of the movement to address racism and recognize Jews of color as equal members of Jewish spaces.

Ilana Kaufman

Ilana Kaufman

What do you have for breakfast? A glass of water. The perfect cup of coffee. The gym and eight minutes of meditation.

What’s the last thing you listened to on your phone? “Touch the Sky” by Black Pumas

Earliest Jewish memory: I was 7. I remember feeling Jewish my first (amazing) Christmas with my Texas family. It was a new setting, and I was able to see myself in a new way. I was like oh, this is really different than Jewish!

Heroes: My heroes are all of the Women of Color out there holding up the sky!

2019 memory: Far from perfect, but I’ve loved this year. It’s been full of blessings. A favorite: Watching my daughter jump off the cliff-platform at Ka Lae (Southpoint) on the Big Island. Made me pray she always feels that confident and free.

What is your favorite thing about being Jewish? When you stop and really look, everything Jewish has millennia old roots. I love that.

What app can you not live without? The one that makes me feel most free (and like I am not working : ) is AllTrails. It’s where I plan my adventures-on-foot.

Weekend ritual: Very long walks along the Bay Trail with very good friends.

Follow Ilana Kaufman on Twitter @fogtownie

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