Skip to content

Oy Vey Acts

Article

Landecker Democracy Fellow Lievnath Faber works on co-creating a Jewish hub, Oy Vey, in the city center of Amsterdam, right in the middle of the former Jewish quarter.

As a Jewish professional in the cultural field in The Netherlands, and as a caring and involved citizen, Lievnath has experienced disconcerting trends that make it difficult for Jewish activists in activist spaces.

On one hand, there are anti-Jewish sentiments (not in the least because of the conflation of the state of Israel with ‘the Jews,’) and on the other hand, Jews are not seen as a minority dealing with discrimination through antisemitism any longer, and thus antisemitism is increasingly not addressed within activist spaces. 

Lievnath’s idea is to create a lasting connection between the Jewish activists and the broader activist community in The Netherlands, specifically in Amsterdam. This will create a civic revolution against populist, nationalist, and racist forces in our society who benefit from the current antagonism between these communities. 

Lievnath’s idea is to create a lasting connection between the Jewish activists and the broader activist community in The Netherlands. This will create a civic revolution against populist, nationalist, and racist forces in our society who benefit from the current antagonism between these communities.

This project will target various individuals within the Jewish community as well as individuals from broader activist networks. Lievnath will focus on smaller discussion circles and meetings as well as individual person-to-person learning. After visiting the ‘Are Jews White?’ exhibition in the Jewish Cultural Quarter, Lievnath is planning to gather Jewish and non-Jewish activists, who have visited the exhibition together, for a Keti-Koti dinner to reflect and relate to one another on a human level. The Keti Koti table was created by Mercedes Zandwijken, a Black Dutch woman, and Machiel Keestra, a Jewish Dutch man.

The idea of the Keti Koti table is based on the Jewish ritual of the Passover Seder incoroparting a focus on the Black Dutch experience of slavery. Coming out of this experience of the Keti Koti dinner, Lievnath aims to create a solidarity statement addressed to the Black Dutch community stating that, as Dutch Jews, they recognise the importance of the day and ritual of Keti Koti. Advocating for the day to be made into a National Holiday, this would ensure that the Black Dutch, as well as the Jewish experience, will be part of a collective remembering. Lievnath hopes to get this statement signed by as many Jewish (lay)leaders and important stakeholders in the cultural and political fields as possible. Her goal is to publish the statement online, as well as have it printed in major Dutch newspapers on July 1st, 2021.

This project addresses the needs for safe intersectional spaces for Jews; for collaborative spaces in the activist anti-racism/discrimination community where antisemitism is also addressed; for allyship where Jews become allies for other minorities and the other minorities become allies for Jews; and finally for ending the conflation of Jews and Israel. 

By involving lay leaders and professionals from both communities, it is ensured that this project is professional and grassroots-based.

The impact that Lievnath envisions is creating a society in which antisemitism is part of the broad anti-racism / anti-discrimination effort and in which the Jewish community becomes actively invested in these efforts. The added value is a lasting and respectful connection between the Jewish and the anti-racism/discrimination communities. Moreover, by involving lay leaders and professionals from both communities, it is ensured that this project is professional and grassroots-based. It moves beyond dialogue and into a joint action plan, with strategies for change outlined and followed up. This project will take place within the secular Oy Vey cultural Jewish community, based in the city center of Amsterdam.

Lievnath´s Blog

Oy Vey Act falls under the broader Oy Vey hub, and is its social justice department.