The Portrait Identity Project
The Portrait Identity Project is a social documentary project that expands and diversifies the narrative of what it “looks like” to be Jewish. Sharing stories paired with professional portraits, this initiative brings communities together to look, listen, and learn from students as they self-reflect on the intersection of their identities and how their perception of being Jewish has evolved. The project embodies Tulane Hillel’s commitment to creating inclusive community through innovative engagement opportunities, using storytelling to celebrate and amplify voices in our community, foster inclusive community and connection, and create spaces where people are encouraged to question and reflect.
Tulane Hillel’s 2023 E-Book:
Tulane Hillel’s 2022 E-Book:
The Importance of the Portrait Identity Project
Developing students’ leadership is one of the key components of Tulane Hillel’s mission, and the Portrait Identity Project works in tandem, complementing leadership programs. We know that fostering leadership is complex and requires not only discrete skills and nuance but also the ability to reflect and be empathetic. This reflective process is an active practice in critical thinking during a pivotal time of life and growth, and the Portrait Identity Project opens the doorway to strengthening students’ Jewish identity and learning who they truly are and who they want to be.
Hillels are relationship-driven organizations constantly striving to create a more inclusive community where all students are welcome to become the leaders they were meant to be. Students may learn that a fundamental quality of excellent leadership is not only the ability to question oneself but being unafraid to be questioned. Rachel Bondy ‘22 shared her experiences saying, “Progress often starts small, by asking questions of those least represented in a community and listening. I learned that [what happens] between A and Z are conversations, building relationships with and [among] people based on common[alities], and creating space for the most marginalized members of a community. I hope that this project encourages others to start these important conversations about the effects of stereotypes in our society within their circles because questioning is [such a] Jewish [value].”