Blacks and Jews once modeled a path to end racial distancing
To escape the horrific racism and systemic oppression in the South, beginning in 1916, millions of southern Blacks migrated north and west to places like Chicago, East St. Louis, Compton, Oakland and Baltimore. And to Harlem, which at the time was home to a sizable Yiddish-speaking Jewish community, also trying to make their own way in a still challenging America. Blacks and Jews were each other’s neighbors, customers, and employers.
One result of that was Black men and women becoming Jewish cantors. Cantors lead the Hebrew (and back then Yiddish) prayer songs on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. This odd entry into Jewish religious life presented an opportunity for Jews and Blacks to get to know each other and end what I call racial and ethnic distancing. This essay explores that fascinating time in our history.
Respecting Jews and Palestinians
This essay delves into the definition of Zionism and the historical and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to Israel. Zionism isn’t what you think it is. It’s simply the ideology that the Jews have a right to return to their original home. The birthplace of the Jewish people. The land from which they were exiled multiple times. Before Jews ultimately spread to every corner of the world (places like Morocco, Yemen, Iraq, Russia, Germany, Poland, Spain, Brazil, Portugal), Jews were living in the land of Israel under numerous Jewish kings and other rulers.
Conspiracy theories have always been around, but they seem to have increased each year since the Internet. The Jews did it, or the Jews are controlling the world ones seem to have spread like wildfire. Jeffrey Kass uses the backdrop of these absurd theories to remind people that the negative acts of individuals, from any ethnic or ethno-religious group, shouldn’t be used as a reflection of the whole. Enough of the Jewish Rothschild Family already.
Virtually every group seems to be quick to harshly criticize other groups and slow to criticize their own. When Black folks give the likes of Farrakhan and Jesse a free pass, it wasn’t because of their anti-Semitism, it was because they stood up for Black folks.
When Jews defend Israel and Netanyahu at all costs, it isn’t because Israel, like every country, does things that are wrong. It’s because the world has always gone after the Jews and Israel is the one place that defends Jews. Still, this essay is a call for a reexamination of what Author Jeffrey Kass calls “ethnic narccisism.”
READING THE ESSAYS
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