Black And Jewish And Read All Over

Black And Jewish And Read All Over

The Jewish Week

Julie Wiener

She may currently live on the Upper East Side, but Simone Weichselbaum, 31, remains a Brooklyn girl. Raised in Williamsburg and Crown Heights by her Ashkenazi Jewish dad (who freelances for The Jewish Week) and Jamaican mom, Weichselbaum, a Park East Day School grad (she formally converted to Judaism at age 7), covers Brooklyn for the Daily News.

Her coverage — “piercing, respectful, accurate and entertaining reporting of the multicultural borough, in particular its Orthodox Jews and Jews of color” — earned her the 2013 “Media Award” from Be’chol Lashon, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that celebrates and promotes cultural/racial diversity and inclusivity in American Jewish life.

Weichselbaum — who reports on everything from crime to the city’s bike-share program (she’s an avid cyclist who often commutes to interviews on her two-wheeler) — recently met with The Jewish Week at a café near her apartment. The following is a condensed and edited version of the conversation.

Q: So what was it like growing up in an interracial and Orthodox family?

A: My parents raised me Jewish — we never talked about race. They said, “You’re biracial.” I grew up with other kids who were like that too. Park East had other biracial Jews and Jews from around the world, so it wasn’t weird to be brown there.

So, do you identify as black?

I’m proudly biracial. I’m very adamant about this. I don’t understand why people pick one. I’m Jamaican and Jewish. I have friends who are biracial and say they’re black Jews or Latino Jews. I’m like, “You’re mom’s white, knock it off.” … I like [Shlomo] Carlebach and Biggie Smalls. I listen to both on a daily basis…

Read the entire article here.

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