In this episode...
“Why be a second-rate version of someone else when you can be a first-rate version of yourself?” That’s just one of the brilliant soundbites from Karen’s conversation with Tony Westbrook, aka @frumjewishblackboy. Tony is so full of enthusiasm for joyful, non-judgmental Judaism, and his discussion with Karen about what it’s like being an Orthodox queer Black Jewish person, how he lives his most authentic Jewish life, and why the only constant in Judaism is change is one you won’t want to miss.
You’ll find out:
- How Tony became an accidental TikTok star
- What the next generation of Jews are looking for in communal life
- Why the butts-in-seats model of Jewish communal engagement is out of date
- How Tony uses social media as a way to channel his lighthearted side despite spending most of his time dealing with serious Jewish communal issues on the job
- Why it’s important to bring out the fun side of Judaism
- How to deal when your Jewish identity doesn’t fit into a box
- Tony’s tips on finding the courage to live your most authentic life
- What it means to be a Jew and a person of color in today’s world
- How Jewish communities can make themselves more welcoming
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Tony J. Westbrook, Jr. is an award winning Jewish African-American, activist, Jewish educator, and community leader based in St. Louis, MO. He is currently the Assistant Director of Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis. Tony also serves as a freelance Jewish life consultant and has facilitated racial justice and equity training sessions for BBYO, Base Hillel, Hillel International, and The Wexner Foundation. He previously served as Director of Jewish Life for Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA. Tony produces digital Jewish content on Instagram and TikTok under the username @frumjewishblackboy. When he's not teaching innovative Torah on social media or in person, he is working to address issues of racial inequality, discrimination, diversity, and inclusion throughout the St. Louis community.