When you have two distinct and separate backgrounds – either cultural or religious – where do you fit in? That’s a question artist Maya Escobar has been asking herself most of her life, and it has since become one of the major themes of her work.
In an interview with JewishinSt.Louis.org, the online gateway to the St. Louis Jewish community, Maya explains that growing up with a Guatemalan father and a Jewish mother is what sent her on a quest for her identity. Maya told the interviewer that after visiting Guatemala for the first time, she didn’t feel like she totally belonged. “And as a Latina-American and Jewish-American, it is unclear if Maya has found a community that defines who she is.”
Because of this schism, Maya’s artwork, both on canvas and in performance, reflects a world without borders. For herself, that means being more than a “Jew of Color.” Maya doesn’t like that term because “it’s such a limited understanding of what a Jew is.”
Maya’s progressive and innovative expressions of Judaism, along with her diverse background, are why we have invited her to perform at our upcoming North American conference in Philadelphia, PA from June 7-9, 2009. Click here to register and join hundreds of Jewish communal professionals and volunteer leaders, both new and veteran to outreach, to hear from Maya and other leading thinkers offering innovative techniques to create a more welcoming Jewish community and secure a more vibrant Jewish future.
We hope to see you there!