As many of you know, our Lerhaus/Newshul project has chosen to enter and engage in the realm of Black Jewish relations for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the re-emergence of anti-Semitism and the ongoing challenge of racism in America and frankly around the world. I will be writing more about this, but for now, I feel that it is important to note that we are all in the same boat, black, brown, white, and Jewish, along with many other racial and religious descriptions as well. Attacks against Jews come from both the left and the right and from any number of points in between. And while I suspect that both racism and anti-Semitism will never cease, how we respond to this scourge can (and must) change. We have chosen to engage with the African America community for a number of reasons, one as I mention above is that we are often subject to attacks from the same people(s). I’m sure, as many of us already know, one can easily substitute Jew for any Black pejorative in the hate materials currently circulating in print, in graffiti and on the net.
It would be wise to heal our relationships and attempt to bring an end to the discomfort and pain we all have experienced in growing apart over the last few decades. It is possible to work together again, not just in a search for allies or for expediency’s sake, but because it is the right thing to do.
Please mark your calendars for January 17th at 7:00 Friday evening at Congregation KI in Elkins Park in which Rabbi Earl Bowen of the Black Jewish congregation Beth El and I will be speaking on the emerging Alliance of the Black and Jewish Communities, both in the United States Congress and in our communities here at home.
This is a challenge from both within our community and from without.
Rabbi Seth Frisch / מהרש’’ף