Rosetta, Miami Temple, and the Winter Jews

As a child singing in front of a choir, Rosetta Nubin was forbidden by her mother to bend over and pick up coins tossed at her by white visitors to the church. She discovered by accident, however, that a large brimmed hat could collect coins without her bending or her mother’s knowledge. This particular recollection, […]

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Dick Gregory and Rabbis Under Rome

“Joseph found out it’s dangerous to be a dreamer….Or sell the dreamer into slavery; purchase the dream with foundation grants or government deals…” Dick Gregory, in 1974, sounded a whole lot like Rabbis under Roman rule.

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Learning to See

Where one lives plays a crucial role in determining access to opportunity, and learning to see “opportunity” and its effects is an important part of understanding our world and how to pursue justice in it. “Opportunity mapping,” a creation of the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University, helps us visualize access to education, health, employment, […]

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Noah, Covenant, and “Cursed be Canaan”

Curse and Covenant The “curse of Ham” — with related ideas about slavery and race, unsupported by the the text itself — emerged over the centuries from the biblical story of Noah. Regardless of our particular faith community’s approach to this curse concept, there is no denying the damage done by what one author calls […]

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“Let us search and try our ways”: Trouble to See prelude

The lowest point of the Jewish calendar, the day of mourning known as Tisha B’av, commemorating destruction of the Temples and other calamities, calls us: “Let us search and try our ways, and return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). As we move on from this day, through the season of repentance and beyond, I invite […]

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Trouble to See #4: Peeling Back Some Tricky Layers

A few more layers of racial-justice-related issues to peel back in taking “Trouble to See,” using the fictional world of “Dirty Dancing” as an aid (see “Beyond the Romance“). Consider that the integrated dance floor — where  non-Jewish staff mix after hours — is moving to Otis Redding, The Contours, and other African American performers. […]

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Trouble to See #3: Beyond the Romance

I never visited the Catskills in the heyday of Jewish resorts. But Eleanor Bergstein’s portrait of one liminal summer there reflects something essential in my own experience, albeit in a non-Jewish neighborhood of Chicago, and in the story of “Jews and Racial Justice.” Thus #3 of “Trouble to See,” my singular excursion — with background […]

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Trouble to See #2: Beyond Central Casting

further thoughts and references on Jews and Racial Justice…. “Bernie Sanders Looks Like Everyone’s Jewish Grandpa…,” read a headline on the Jewish Daily Forward website earlier this election season. But Sanders doesn’t look anything like these Jewish men, some of whom are probably grandpas, or like many Sephardic grandpas. He doesn’t look like the grandparents […]

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Trouble to See #1: Expelling a Crease or Two

[updated 8/15] At the invitation of Temple Micah‘s Lunch and Learn program (8/10/16), I shared some thoughts about Jews and Racial Justice. I appreciate the opportunity. As promised, I offer the references cited for anyone who wants to explore further: Jews and Racial Justice reference page. I also include below a link to the SongRiseDC […]

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