Rebecca Katz

Rebecca (she/her) is an artist and educator from Brooklyn, NY. She’s spent the past decade working in the Jewish social justice movement to engage local and national communities in volunteering, organizing, and advocacy. Rebecca operates from a foundational belief that everyone is creative. She’s trained as a creative facilitator with the Jewish Studio Project and works with the the Jewish community to create spaces where people can access their creativity and explore their connection to community, identity, and place. With artist Rachel Schragis, Rebecca cofacilitated JFREJ’s Unraveling Antisemitism. This poster and discussion guide earned acclaim as a cultural organizing project and map of the struggle to win a world free from antisemitism. Currently, Rebecca works on staff at Lilith magazine, organizing Jewish feminist events and partnerships.

Her commitment to stripping down barriers to creativity and unlearning oppressive frameworks is mirrored in her own artistic practice. Through the process of making comics and collage, Rebecca observes and deconstructs her own anxieties, joys, and fears as a white, Jewish woman—and how they are shaped by her family history, culture, and institutions. You can find her cartoons and illustrations published in Lilith magazine and in “Jewish Women in Comics: Bodies and Borders,” edited by Heike Bauer, Andrea Greenbaum, Sarah Lightman.

LABA Project Description:

My husband and my father hold Caleb down on our dining room table. My father-in-law is in charge of dabbing a rag in Maneshevitz and putting it in my son’s mouth. Caleb’s ten days old—the ceremony was delayed two days due to potential jaundice and the mohel’s overbooked schedule. It was entirely my choice to have a brit milah; as the Jewish parent raising a Jewish baby, my husband told me that I had the final say. Sobbing uncontrollably with my back turned to my baby, I know I made the wrong decision. In the weeks afterward, I tell myself over and over, “he won’t remember it, he won’t remember it,” as I dab the wound with Neosporin.

“Fuck. Now we have to think about a bris.” This was the first thought that came to my mind when I found out I was having a boy. My LABA project will explore the Jewish tradition of ritual circumcision from personal, cultural, and religious perspectives. Why did I uphold this tradition while flouting so many others? Why was this one of the ultimate taboos for a nice white Jewish girl from Brooklyn? Did my son need a bris in order to belong as a Jew? The comic will weave together traditional Jewish text, medical research, and interviews with family and friends to understand how circumcision became—and continues to be—a foundational part of Jewish masculine identity.

What Taboo Would You Like to Break?

Eating soup for breakfast.