Award winning author, speaker and producer Marra Gad joins JDS assembly


screenshot courtesy of CESJDS Facebook

Marra Gad sharing her story as a biracial Jew in Thursday’s assembly.

Lielle Coombe, Reporter

Award-winning author, speaker and producer Marra Gad shared her story of growing up in the late 1900s as a biracial Jewish woman during Thursday’s high school assembly.

Gad was adopted into a White family and attended a primarily White magnet school. As one of the only biracial children in her community, Gad had to deal with frequent racist comments and slurs. Growing up, Gad’s character as a biracial woman was referred to as a “physical deformity,” and she was often isolated from those around her because of it. Her immediate family, however, was a strong support network, including her Bubbe, whom she spoke about fondly.

Gad shared that she experienced racism even within the Jewish community, including being asked if she was part of the staff when she went to a family event at a synagogue. But despite the racism Gad faced, she continues to fight for Jews because she wants the community to become more diverse. She emphasizes that not speaking out makes you a part of the problem.

Gad believes everyone needs to work together and be better allies, whether it is to end racism, anti-Semitism or any other injustice. To be a better ally, Gad says you should step up and never just stand by.

Sophomore Samantha Vaisman said the CESJDS community does a good job of spreading awareness about racism and other social justice issues.

“[JDS] introduces students from a young age to what is happening in the world, and it helps them develop tools in order to help people experiencing [racism],” Vaisman said.

Gad’s story helped sophomore Coby Malkus to see racism from a different perspective.

“Living in such a tight-knit community, hearing her story helped me see through a different perspective the type of racial inequalities people experience on a day to day basis,” Malkus said.

When Vaisman heard Gad’s story she was deeply inspired and said it made her realize how challenging life can be for a biracial Jew.

“I think her story was very powerful; it allowed for me to see what it was like for a Black Jew in a White community… [Gad] can help people understand that not everyone lives through the same things,” Vaisman said.

Going into the future, Gad hopes more people will fight alongside her. People within the Jewish community, especially a connected one like CESJDS, have the ability to hold each other accountable for their actions, Gad noted.

Gad says the first step to ending racism is to realize people of all races have bias within them. According to her, once we admit to having a bias, we can work together to get rid of it and become more accepting.

Malkus emphasized the importance of the conversation with Gad in such a contentious racial climate.

“This discussion was an important addition to the anti-racial learning at JDS, and I think now it is more important than ever to hear from Marra Gad,” Malkus said.