Loolwa Khazzoom

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Loolwa Khazzoom until we are able to commission a full entry.

Loolwa Khazzoom.

A pioneer of the Jewish multicultural movement, Loolwa Khazzoom helped promote Sephardic and Mizrahi culture and priorities within the larger Jewish community. Frustrated by the lack of awareness about the experiences of non-white, non-Ashkenazi Jews in the Jewish feminist movement, Khazzoom founded the Jewish Multicultural Project, creating and implementing the first comprehensive curriculum on Jews around the world. She has worked in activist organizations such as Student Organization for Jews from Iran and Arab Countries (SOJIAC) and Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) as well. Khazzoom is also a musician, artist, and author, published in periodicals ranging from Rolling Stone to the Washington Post to Seventeen.  In 2003 she edited The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage, the first anthology written by and for Jewish women of color; a twentieth anniversary edition was published in 2023. Khazzoom always had an affinity for music and grew up learning to play a multitude of instruments, such as the piano and the flute. But her musical career did not take off until she founded her band, Iraqis in Pajamas, in the wake of a thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2010. Her decision to create the band also stemmed from the marginalized position women held in Middle Eastern synagogues, in which she was not allowed to pray audibly as a woman. Khazzoom’s music combines her Iraqi-Jewish culture with various genres, most notably punk rock, through which she could express her heritage authentically. She has spoken at institutions from Barnard and Harvard to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Skirball Cultural Center. Beyond her work on Jewish multiculturalism, Khazzoom is a public relations manager for wellness. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Loolwa Khazzoom." (Viewed on April 24, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/khazzoom-loolwa>.