Peaks and Valleys: Milestone Moments in Black–Jewish Relations
Our eight-week community course explored the complexity of the historic relationship between the American Black and Jewish communities. From exploring texts on race in the Hebrew Bible, to delving into the writings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and the records of Jewish NAACP leaders, we will deepen our understanding of our shared triumphs and our troubled times. Classes will incorporate study of source documents, chavruta – small group learning, mini-lectures thirty minute talks from local and national scholars and discussion.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Setting the Stage for our Semester and the Psychologist’s Couch – What brings us together? What drives us apart?
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Race in the Hebrew Bible
Guest presenter: Dr. Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor of Bible and Director, Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation
- “Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White,” James Baldwin, New York Times, April 9, 1967.” https://movies2.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-antisem.html. (It is a challenging piece).
- Genesis 9:18-27.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Confronting our Painful Past: Slavery, Civil War, and a Monument on Tryon Street
Guest Presenter: Rabbi Asher Knight, Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth El
- Here’s a link to a segment from the Museum of the Bible in Washington on the Slave Bible that was used in the 1800s to indoctrinate Black slaves. (90% of the Hebrew Bible was missing as was all the material on the Israelite’s slavery and liberation): https://www.npr.org/transcripts/674995075
- Here is a New York Times articles summing up some of the primary lessons from the session on the Curse of Ham: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/01/arts/from-noah-s-curse-to-slavery-s-rationale.html
- Howard B. Rock, “New York’s Pro-Slavery Rabbi,” Tablet Magazine, September 19, 2012, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/new-yorks-pro-slavery-rabbi
- Rabbi David Einhorn’s response to “A Biblical View of Slavery”: http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar/einhorn.htmlRabbi.
- Robert F. Southard, “The Debate on Slavery: David Einhorn and the Jewish Political Turn,” http://americanjewisharchives.org/publications/journal/PDF/2012_64_01_00_southard.pdf (This is the last manuscript that Robert Fairbairn Southard completed before he died on November 6, 2007, of sudden cardiac arrest).
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Jews and the NAACP
Guest Presenter: Minister Corine Mack, President of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the NAACP
- “Long-Distance Runners of the Civil Rights Movement: The Contribution of Jews to the NAACP and the National Urban League in the Early Twentieth Century” in Jack Salzman, and Cornel West. (1997) Struggles in the Promised Land : Towards a History of Black-Jewish Relations in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Selection from an Oral History Interview with Kivie Kaplan, regarding His Entrance into Civil Rights Work and His Election as President of the NAACP, 1970
- Selection from NAACP Head Benjamin Hooks, Speech on Civil Rights, American Jews, and the Palestine Liberation Organization, 1979
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Jews & the Civil Right Era: From Mississippi to Alabama, from Chicago to Washington
Guest Presenter: Dr. Willie Keaton, Justice Organizer, Greenspon Center and Pastor, Mt. Olive Presbyterian Church
- “Two Friends, Two Prophets: Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr.” by Dr. Susannah Heschel, https://www.plough.com/en/topics/community/leadership/two-friends-two-prophets
- The attached document entitled American Jewish History - A Primary Source Reader includes some writings from Jewish Leaders from 1958-1963 regarding the civil rights movement.
- Attached is the chapter “Negotiating Coalitions: Blacks and Jewish Civil Rights Agencies in the Twentieth Century” by Cheryl Greenberg in Struggles in the Promised Land: Toward a History of Black-Jewish Relations in the United States
- Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. (Dr. King addressed this letter to Rabbi Milton Grafman and seven other white clergymen in which he said blacks were tired of waiting for the right time to demand justice. It is such a great document to read.)
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Black Power, Jewish Politics
Guest Presenter: Dr. Marc Dollinger, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University
- “Black-Jewish Universalism in the Era of Identity Politics” in Struggles in the Promised Land: Toward a History of Black-Jewish Relations in the United States.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
The Crown Heights Race Riots, the Rebbe & Mayor Dinkins
Rabbi Yossi Groner, Rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Ohr HaTorah
- Conaway, Carol B. “Crown Heights: Politics and Press Coverage of the Race War That Wasn’t.” Polity 32, no. 1 (1999): 93-118. Accessed November 15, 2020. doi:10.2307/3235335. This article will give you deeper insights into the Crown Heights Riots of 1991.
- Some of the Rebbe’s writing on the topic of responsibility from Toward a Meaningful Life: the Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Wednesday, December 9th
Racial Justice & Black Lives Matter Today: Where Will You Stand and Why?
- Video of a panel on “Black Lives Matter, anti-Racism, and Zionism: The Role and Place of the Reform Movement in Navigating this Complex Landscape” might be useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx743YJB6k0&t=11s.
Click here for the file containing all the readings, power points, and recordings.