On Wednesday, The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP)-the folks who brought you Shabbat Across America and Read Hebrew America- picked the winners of its first-ever “Jewish Treats: Jewish Influencer Awards,” announcing the recipients as part of Social Media Week. The award is based on the “creative and strategic use of social media.”
It should not surprise me that this is what it looks like: white, Orthodox dudes (and white skinned folks overall-nary a Jew of color in sight), people espousing the awesomeness of frumkeit-I believe the kids call it kiruv-and representing “mainstream” to right wing Jewish organizations.
A colleague sent me this list; if it hadn’t been in the Huffington Post, I doubt I would have found out about it at all. NJOP is not a diverse, lefty, or secular organization, they have an specific agenda (which of course, everyone does), and it’s expressed here. This is who NJOP has decided are leaders, who gets to represent the Jewish community, who is Jewish enough and in the right way.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it’s lacking in religious, political and racial diversity, and because of the wide spread readership of the Huffington Post, a lot of folks have probably seen it. It’s a sad example, with the exception of Esther Kustanowitz and Chaviva Galatz, of how a certain part of the American community represents itself to the larger world.
Where’s the list of the most creative and influential lefty/radical/progressive/ queer/feminist/non or post denominational/secular, etc. Jewish social media personalities? Who would be on yours?