One of the goals of our Big Tent Judaism Coalition is to negate the ingrained perception that Jews have a certain “look.” Today, we’re far too ethnically diverse to make assumptions about who is or isn’t Jewish based on appearance. Those kinds of perceptions – and the negative impact they can yield – are what motivated one woman to create a new business.
According to an article in the (Philadelphia) Jewish Exponent, Ariana Lopez started a new clothing lined aimed at Latin American Jews wants to shake up the “perception that all Latinos are Catholic,” a notion that can make “Latin Jews feel ostracized.” Her clothing label, “Jewtina,” is designed to help “build pride and community” among this population. She explained:
“You’d want to buy something to embrace your Jewish faith, but it was always Yiddish,” said Lopez, who, of course, comes from Jewish stock herself. She decided to raise awareness that strong ethnic identities can co-exist.
We think this clothing line is a creative and inspired method for reaching and engaging this particular community. Simon Guindi Cohen, director of Judios Latinos (a New York based social group for Latin Jews), notes that this community can be “passive,” so it’s important to “keep re-branding Judaism.”
By doing something as simple as merging the image of a Mexican or Argentinean flag with an Israeli flag and putting it on a t-shirt, Lopez is helping to send the message to all Latin Jews to take pride in their mixed heritage. It also sends a message of welcoming to Latin partners of Jews who aren’t Jewish, letting them know that we respect the variety of cultures and traditions that exist in our community. These empowering notions are a great step in urging more Latin Jews and their families to embrace their Jewish background and engage with the Jewish community at large.