Familia Jewtina: Celebrating Latin-Jewish Strength, Community, and Resilience

Trailblazers and leaders, these two Entwine alumni are fostering an intersectional Jewish world.

September 11, 2023

Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo (far left, front row) and Kimberly Ariella Dueñas (third from right, front row) pictured with recipients of the Puentes Leadership & Resiliency Fellowship — an initiative of their organization, Jewtina y Co.

When Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo and Kimberly Ariella Dueñas met at a JDC Entwine leadership retreat in 2017, they quickly realized they had two important things in common: They were each Latina Jews proud of their unique heritage and identity, and their sense of global Jewish mutual responsibility had been sparked by international travel with JDC.

From that initial connection grew Jewtina y Co.,their organization focused on nurturing Latin-Jewish community and identity, along with celebrating Latin-Jewish heritage and multiculturalism. In this interview, they reflect on their journey together, and the role that JDC Entwine played in fostering their much-needed organization. 

Kimberly Ariella Dueñas (left) and Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo

Q: How did you two meet? What’s your origin story? 

Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo: Kimmy and I met at a JDC Entwine leadership retreat at the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University in California. A friend of mine introduced me to Kim, saying, “Oh, you need to meet this woman. She’s also Latina” — and so I went up to Kimmy and I was like, “Oh my goodness, you’re a Jewtina.” And Kimmy said, “I’ve never heard of that term, but yes, I guess I am!”

Kimberly Ariella Dueñas: We like to say that we have an Entwine love story. I didn’t grow up in a Latino community, so I often felt disconnected from that side of my identity. The only other Salvadorians I knew were my family members, so meeting Analucía, I was like, “There’s someone just like me! I don’t have to feel alone.” It was then that I decided that I wanted to dedicate my skill set and my strength to helping other people with intersectional identities belong.

A: Meeting Kimmy, I realized that what had been missing for me as an adult is what had been missing for me as a young child: An organization dedicated to Latin Jewry. 

Q: How did Jewtina develop out of your friendship?

A: I told Kimmy that I was in the early stages of founding a new organization, and I remember sitting in her apartment and brainstorming on how to expand Jewtina y Co.’s reach. She didn’t know it then, but this was my way of enticing her to join the team. And from there, we wondered together “What different values could help fulfill the organization’s mission?” A really big part of our origin story was collecting diverse Latin Jewish stories in order to raise awareness of our collective Latin-Jewish experience — that’s really how it started, back in 2019. I already had all the skills I needed. And thanks to previous touch-points with JDC and JDC Entwine, I had strong connections to the global Jewish community.

K: When we started really talking about Jewtina, much of our thinking was inspired by our work as Entwine Community Representatives, along with skills we had pulled from being Jewish educators. Our mind and our hearts rallied around what this could be, and it was definitely inspired by our experiences through Entwine. 

During and after summer 2020, with the George Floyd protests in full swing, we decided it was all the more important to convene spaces for people of color, for Jews of color, and particularly for Latin Jews who identify as people of color. This was a defining moment for us. 

Q: It’s clear that Entwine played a large part in your story. What drew you to Entwine initially? What has your experience been like?

A: I’m always looking for cohorts of people who are truly diverse in experiences, in practice, in family background, in employment, in dreams, and also in national origin. What drew me to JDC Entwine was its commitment to connecting young adults from across the world, not just the United States. 

K: Entwine is also an access point to the Jewish world for people who are not always seen, people who we don’t typically find at the forefront of Jewish life. It’s so important to see as many people as possible finding ways to connect to their places of origin — like my Entwine experience in Latin America. That’s been an important spark for me and so many others.

Q: How do you think Entwine cultivates and encourages Jewish leadership?

K: The most beautiful thing about Entwine is that it’s peer-led.I find this model super-inspiring,  because we see people our age, our demographic, leading the way and being supported. I find myself thinking, “If they can do it, I can do it, too.” We’re learning from them, and they’re learning from us; it’s a beautiful cyclical relationship.

A: I’ll add that I think this is an opportunity to really reflect on how leadership has been traditionally and historically defined. There are so many programs out there in which one person gets this prestigious award or a cohort of selected people get sent to another country. And while I think those programs are wonderful — in fact, I believe in these programs — that’s only one way to cultivate Jewish leadership. One of our goals is to democratize leadership, and I think Entwine shares our vision.

Q: What makes Entwine’s work so urgent right now, and how do you see it connecting to JDC’s broader mission?

K: Everyone in our generation, folks in their twenties and thirties — we are going to be the next Jewish leaders. If we’re plugged into global Jewish issues, if we’re educated and empowered to be aware of them and involved, we will be better equipped to address the needs when they come up. We will know how to mobilize and support other Jews by having these networks on the ground — networks that Entwine helps cultivate. 

That work starts now, and if we do the work, I can see a secure future — a strong, beautiful, healthy Jewish future.

A: Being a part of the JDC community — which includes Entwine — teaches you how to be human again. As awful as the Ukraine crisis has been, the response from communities across the world, in particular young people under 40, mobilizing and giving whatever could, inspires me, and it’s thanks largely to JDC that this network exists. 

The work starts now, and if we do the work, I can see a secure future — a strong, beautiful, healthy Jewish future.

Q: We’re excited to hear more about Jewtina y Co. Can you tell us what excites you about the organization today and your plans for its future?

A: We’re going to enter our fourth fiscal year in the fall, and it’s just been such a wild trip thinking about all the things that have taken place. One of the biggest is our VOCES Storytelling Project, which includes a podcast that reaches over 50,000 people and centers the diversity of narratives within the Latin Jewish community.

We’ve also got our PUENTES Leadership & Resiliency Fellowship, which has trained more than 30 Latin-Jewish leaders across the country and which is truly curated through a culturally responsive lens. We’ve also got a bunch of beautifully designed resources — all of them bilingual, which is intentional.

K: We’ve evolved so much over the last couple of years. Now it feels like my purpose and my work are aligned in the deepest way, because there are people coming to us who are looking for the same thing Analucía and I had always been seeking: a place where we could be all of ourselves. These participants grew up feeling like they weren’t Jewish enough or Latin enough. We have folks who are adopted into Jewish families. We have people who have converted. Jewtina is a home where you can come as you are. We’re not trying to keep anybody out — we’re trying to bring everybody in. 

This really is just the beginning.

Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo (she/her/ella) is a Peruvian-Chilean-American sociologist, known for her research in human migration and immigrant identity development. In 2019 Analucía founded Jewtina y Co. to offer Latin Jews from around the world a community in which to celebrate and explore Latin-Jewish multiculturalism.

Prior to Jewtina y Co., she worked at JIMENA, OneTable, Bend the Arc, the Center to Advance Racial Equity, and was a global development officer in California’s Central Valley, southwestern México and southeastern Perú.

She is the recipient of the National Young Woman of Distinction award, sits on JDC Entwine’s council, JPRO and Urban Adamah’s board of directors, is a member of the Schusterman Foundation’s “ROI community,” Elluminate’s “Collective,” and is a Wexner Field Fellow. A passionate global citizen, she’s traveled to over 135 countries and all seven continents.

Kimberly Ariella Dueñas (she/her/ella) is a California native with a global spirit. Born into a multicultural home, she discovered that the best way to explore her dynamic Jewish identity was to immerse and involve herself in the world — beginning with tracing her roots to rural El Salvador and across Europe.

An international Jewish educator, Kimberly Ariella is passionate about providing a safe space for people to develop deeper connections to their Latin and Jewish identities. Her passion for community healing, led her to join the Jewtina y Co. team as a founding member and the Director of Learning in charge of innovative identity, community and wellbeing programming. Prior to working with Jewtina y Co. she was an experiential Jewish educator in Los Angeles, CA and volunteer educator at the Jewish Community Center in Mumbai, India.

Kimberly Ariella is a graduate of the American Jewish University, where she was selected to be the valedictorian of her graduating class. She is a former JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps (JSC) Fellow and Community Representative, a Selah Fellowship (Bend the Arc) and Kollel Fellowship (Mitsui Collective) alumna, and is a member of the Schusterman Foundation’s ROI community.

This Voices post is a supplement to the 2022-3 Annual Report.

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