We must recognize Jews of color
We want to thank the Jewish Times for its recent coverage of the series being offered in collaboration between Chizuk Amuno Congregation and the Jewish Museum of Maryland, “Jews of Color, Jewish Institutions and Jewish Community in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter” (“Jewish identity explored in depth by JMM and Chizuk,” Oct. 19). As we all know, the turmoil of the last few months has raised the awareness of many in our community to the need for racial justice in our society at large and has stimulated important conversations about how we can set our own house in order. Jews of Color, and especially Black Jews, have suffered the same trauma watching the nightly news and hearing stories from friends and family that has weighed on others in the Black community. The response to the Black Lives Matter movement by some in the Jewish community – the claim that Black Lives Matter is anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist – is doubly hurtful to those Jews of Color who see themselves as written out of the Jewish community by those who fail to understand the reality of their lives.
Our series is intended to shine a light on the diversity of the Jewish community. The time to open up the doors and windows of our institutions and recognize that Jews come in all colors and from all backgrounds is now. This is the time to recognize the diversity of experience and cultural heritage that can enrich our understanding of what it means to be Jewish in this place and time. The next eight sessions in the series will explore, among other topics, what it means for Jews in the majority to have white privilege; how we decide who is counted when we carry out Jewish population studies and why this is such an important question; what is the impact on Jews of Color of racial profiling in the synagogue and other Jewish spaces; where anti-Semitism and other forms of racism intersect and why it is necessary to make common cause; and what commitments our Jewish communities and institutions are willing to make to bring about real change.
Conversations about race, ethnicity, space, and belonging have become central to Jewish thought and social action as 2020 moves toward an end and the new year of 5781 unfolds. In addition to the Chizuk Amuno/Jewish Museum of Maryland series, we also encourage you to register for a special event on the evening of November 14 right after Havdalah, titled “This Is What Jewish People of Color Need You to Know: Presented by District Community Playback Theatre.”This is free to the public and for that we thank our cosponsors,
Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Beth Am Synagogue, Repair the World Baltimore, Bolton Street Synagogue, Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Beth El Congregation, and The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore.
For more information visit https://fb.me/e/21TDrqWTd.
Harriette Wimms, Ph.D.
Brooklyn protests editorial missed opportunity
The editorial staff of the JT failed again at being fair and balanced. In “The limits of protest” (Oct. 16), turning a blind eye to months of a double standard by Andrew Cuomo doesn’t help anyone, let alone this readership, even if most subscribers are secular. The article notes the Orthodox protests in New York may have been fueled by poor or misleading communication, as if to give the staff cover for ongoing finger-pointing against this segment of the Jewish community. Where is the editorial team’s criticism of looting and rioting among mass protests by liberals and African Americans? The staff has plenty of ink to call the Orthodox community out for violence and lack of orderly and respectful protest.
Liberalism gone awry
As a Reform Jew who is undecided on the election, I’ve wondered in the last few months how liberalism has taken the Democratic Party hostage on every single issue. In the letter to the editor titled, “Is this our atonement?” (Oct. 16), the writer muses at God punishing us for electing Trump.
Perhaps the current state of the world is punishment for liberals in this country taking every single issue to the extreme. Everything today is overly done, overly censored, overly edited from historical statues to free thoughts. To quote the author, might the state of affairs be atonement for a compete shift in morals, values, acceptance of the other side, freedom to voice opinions not in line with the far left? Should I be afraid to speak out against this one-sided extreme ideology gripping secular Jews like my friends and family? Perhaps. I fear it’s too late to change course.
What’s really inaccurate
Brad Shaw’s letter (“What’s really not accurate,” Oct. 23) falsely attributes a characterization of the Charlottesville rally to me in an earlier letter. How do I know it is false? Because I had made no characterization about the rally at all in my letter. That lack of accuracy further invalidates the rest of Shaw’s letter.