Jean-Paul Le is not your typical Jew. He is Asian, Sephardic and a native Spanish speaker who grew up just outside of New York City. He first connected to Judaism while deployed to Iraq with the United States Army. This connection was further strengthened by his participation in a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip in 2009. Due to his unique experience, Jean-Paul was one of ten people chosen from around the world for Birthright Decade Alumni trip. Since the trip, he has shared his Birthright story at many events in cities including Jerusalem, Las Vegas, New York City and New Orleans for the 2010 General Assembly. Within the UJA Federation of New York, Jean-Paul sits on the Welcoming Interfaith Families Task Force, which works to encourage and ensure the integration, inclusion, and engagement of interfaith families. Jean-Paul separated from the military and is now a supply chain analyst for a health care consulting firm. He holds degrees in economics and supply chain management.
The articulation of identity is constantly evolving for Jean-Paul, who comes from an interfaith and mixed-race family. His identity as a Jew, however, was solidified by a ten-day, life-changing Birthright Israel trip. Jean-Paul volunteers at Birthright fundraising events by sharing his unique Jewish experience with others, including a Passover seder in Baghdad and a Bar Mitzvah at the kotel. He helped raise millions of dollars to enable other young Jewish adults to experience this trip of a lifetime. He has also staffed a Birthright Israel trip, directly impacting over 40 young Jews from the U.S. and Israel. More recently, Jean-Paul joined a new task force aimed at integrating interfaith families in the greater New York community. He helps with the development of training for Jewish community professionals and lay leaders to work extensively and successfully with these families. Jean-Paul’s goal is to promote acceptance of interfaith families and improve their access to the Jewish community.