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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Peace Service Speaker is "Really" and "Proudly" Jewish

David Goldman, The Associated Press

May Ye says she’s not typical for the Jewish community, but she says that should help her “dig deep into social justice work” as a rabbi. Ye is the keynote speaker for the Kalamazoo Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice’s 15th Annual Peace Service.

Ye is of Chinese descent, her father is Jewish, but she grew up in a secular home. Ye explored her Jewish roots, and embraced the religion. She’s a piano performance major at Western Michigan University. But when Ye graduates next month, she’s planning to attend rabbinical school.

But Ye says she faces questions about whether she’s “really Jewish,” and has been rejected from entering synagogues. Ye says it’s rare to meet other Chinese Jews, especially when they aren’t adopted. But Ye says the majority of students at the rabbinical school she’s applied too are “Jews of Color.”

November’s election left Ye feeling distraught, but now she feels an obligation to be active. She was one of the organizers of a rally against Islamophobia held in Bronson Park in February.

Interview with May Ye - web version

Ye was among those who gathered in North Dakota to protest a new oil pipeline planned near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She is also a member of organization called Jewish Voices for Peace, which supports the rights of Palestinians Ye says she favors a “two state” solution for Israel and Palestine. She says there are similarities between Palestinians and Native Americans. Ye says both are fighting for land that they had taken away.

Calling herself “proudly Jewish” Ye says being critical of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic. “I’m going to be a rabbi for heaven’s sake.”

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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