Learn how the Momentum Campaign is reconstructing Judaism → 

Home » The Center for Jewish Ethics » Race, Religion, and American Judaism » Lecture 7: Race, Class and Privilege: How Latino Jews navigate life in the United States

Lecture 7: Race, Class and Privilege: How Latino Jews navigate life in the United States

Using a comparative perspective to understand the lived experiences of Latin@ Jews in the United States, Prof. Limonic shows how this group of immigrants attain upward mobility through successfully navigating racial and class structures.


Discussion questions

  1. Professor Limonic discusses how Jewishness is experienced and expressed differently in Latin American countries than in North America. In what ways can her presentation help us re-think definitions of religion, race and ethnicity? In what ways is Jewish identity similar to Latinx identity? In what ways is it different?
  2. This presentation emphasized how race and class interact in complicated ways. How do you see class and race interacting in your local community? Is one easier to talk about than the other? Why do you think this is?
  3. Professor Limonic’s research focuses on the experiences of recent first-generation immigrants. To what degree do their experiences overlap with immigration experiences and stories from your own past or from your family history? In what ways are they different?
  4. Professor Limonic describes how her subjects navigate the various identities they carry, emphasizing their Jewishness in some contexts and their Latinx identities in others. Are there identities that you choose to share in some contexts and not in others? What are some circumstances in which you have found yourself code-switching?

Professor Limonic mentions comedian Sarah Jones. You can see her in action here.

For more on code-switching in the Jewish community, click here.

Laura Limonic
Laura Limonic

Laura Limonic is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Old Westbury of the State University of New York. Her research is in the area of contemporary immigration to the United States and the integration trajectories of ethnic and ethno-religious groups. Her recent book, Kugel and Frijoles: Latino Jews in the United States explores issues of ethnicity, race, class and religious community building among Latino Jewish immigrants in Boston, New York, Miami and Southern California. Laura’s current work examines the rise of Chabad in Latin America as an avenue for Jewish identity construction and communal life among Jews in Latin America and abroad. Her work has been supported by the Berman Foundation, the Association for Jewish Studies and the Templeton Trust. Laura received her PhD in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2014.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Studies from Brandeis University and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University. In addition to academic research, Laura has an extensive background in public policy research and advocacy.

More from the lecturer

More on the topic

The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

The Reconstructionist Network