Making Mensches was created by two white, Ashkenazi Jewish women and intends to educate and learn with fellow white, Ashkenazi Jews in order to build more welcoming communities for our siblings of color. Our work centers around facilitating conversations that confront the systemic nature of anti-Blackness in Jewish spaces.
As young white Jews witnessing the calls for racial justice in this country, we are inspired to bring change to the communities that raised us. We use the concept of Tikkun Olam to guide our lives and work. Making Mensches is an extension of Tikkun Olam and is representative of our dedication to repairing the world.
This program was inspired by the Not Free to Desist Letter published by Black Jews and Jews of Color.
Meet the Founders
Jessie Sander is a New York City-based educator. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College in 2017 with a degree in Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies. She was also accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows Program and received a Master's of Science in Education from Pace University. Jessie has worked as a special education teacher and is trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and trauma response for teenagers.
Elana Lipkin graduated from American University in 2019 with degrees in Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree at Columbia University's School of Social Work, including fulfilling a fieldwork placement at The Center for Anti-Violence Education in Brooklyn, New York. Elana also works as manager for a government relations firm based in New York City.