Windmueller Publishes Study on Latino-Jewish Relations in Los Angeles

Thursday, April 1, 1999

A study defining the potential for a political alliance between the Latino and Jewish communities in Los Angeles has been published by Dr. Steven Windmueller, Director of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service of the Los Angeles School of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, announced Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, President of HUC-JIR. The study was funded by the John and Doris Haynes Foundation and is entitled "Prospects for Building a New Los Angeles Coalition for the 21st Century."

Dr. Windmueller has authored more than twenty articles, including articles on Hispanic-Jewish relations. His nearly thirty year career as a communal professional and educator encompasses a broad range of experience as a civic activist and as an academic researcher.

 

"The study will have a dramatic impact on the shaping the future of Los Angeles' political scenarios. said Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman. "The report concludes that the potential does in fact exist for a Latino-Jewish political coalition, and we hope that the College-Institute will be at the forefront of helping to develop a significant and long-term coalition as we move into the twenty first century."

In the "Prospects for Building a New Los Angeles Coalition for the 21st Century" report Dr. Windmueller's examines five premises as the basis for defining the potential for a political alliance between the Jewish and Latino communities. They are: (1) the impact of Latino "identity politics" (group centered political practices); (2) the unique and significant place of coalition politics in the American Jewish experience; (3) the importance of "space" and "place" as barometers in measuring inter-group relations; (4) the idea that communities form relationships as intergroup alliances and as political coalitions; (5) the impact of other groups in shaping the future of Los Angeles' future political scenarios.

"Dr. Windmueller's depth of experience and vision have enabled him to develop an exciting and important study for the Jewish and Latino communities. HUC-JIR is uniquely placed to play a major role on building a coalition between Jews and Latinos, in that Dr. Windmueller has identified that both communities stress religion and religious values," stated Dr. Lewis M. Barth, Dean of the Los Angeles School of HUC-JIR.

Dr. Windmueller's findings suggest that there will likely be a period of tension between Latinos and Jews as Latinos seek to establish their political power and identity prior to engaging the Jewish community in a partnership. In the process, there is the likelihood of a Jewish political displacement which will place stress on the state of relations.

Dr. Windmueller points to the necessity for the Jewish community to seek out coalition partners as critical to its political interests, but cautions Jews, who for years, politically ignored the Latinos, not to seek to "reshape" the Latino community in its image.

For more information on the College-Institute's "Prospects for Building a New Los Angeles Coalition for the 21st Century" study, please contact Dr. Steven Windmueller at HUC-JIR; 3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90007-3796, 213/749-3424, swindmueller@huc.edu.

 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu