Black Hebrew Israelites Celebrate Rabbi Who Founded Their Century-Old Movement

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-06-25 01:26Z by Steven

Black Hebrew Israelites Celebrate Rabbi Who Founded Their Century-Old Movement

Forward
2016-06-24

Sam Kestenbaum, Staff Writer

This weekend black Israelites will gather across New York City to celebrate their spiritual patriarch — a rabbi from Harlem who helped establish America’s black Hebrew-Israelite movement a century ago.

“We thank the Most High for our beloved Chief Rabbi Matthew,” community member Deborah Reuben wrote online. “Chief Rabbi Matthew will always be remembered [as] a teacher, a scholar of the Torah, a builder and a great leader in Yisrael.”

The three-day event is held every year to honor the Caribbean-born Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, who founded a synagogue in Harlem in 1919 and taught that black Americans had ancestral ties to the ancient Israelites and that they should return to this Hebraic way of life…

Read the entire article here.

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Blacks & Jews Entangled

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-06-24 00:35Z by Steven

Blacks & Jews Entangled

The New York Review of Books
2016-07-14

Darryl Pinckney

Oreo by Fran Ross, with a foreword by Danzy Senna and an afterword by Harryette Mullen, New Directions, 230 pp., $14.95 (paper)

Google wasn’t around when Oreo was first published in 1974. You are hit with Greek mythology and Yiddish right away and just the look of the pages of Fran Ross’s novel about an Afro-Jewish girl’s quest to find her white father can discourage or intimidate. Oreo, by an African-American writer who died in 1985, promises a degree of difficulty; the chapter titles, paragraph titles (“Helen and Oreo shmooz”), different font sizes, a graph showing shades of blackness, letters, an elaborate five-page menu of a daughter’s homecoming meal, footnotes, and mathematical equations say this is no naturalistic tale of two ghettoes. The protagonist is called “Oreo” not because of the cookie—i.e., because she is mixed-race or reluctantly black, as in black on the outside but white on the inside. Her black grandmother had been trying to give Oreo the nickname “Oriole,” but couldn’t make herself understood to the family.

In addition to Greek myth and Yiddish, Ross makes use of black slang, popular culture of the time, puns, raunch, her own made-up words—but this is not vernacular, not jive. Ross’s voice is literary, and thrilled with itself, joking about Villon or Bellow, totally into what it takes to get up to outrageous parody. Nothing about the narrative is restful; you have to stay on the alert. Oreo is quick, obscure, sly, and every line is working hard, doing its bit. Ross makes Oreo relentless in her shtick. “Oreo was soon engrossed in ‘Burp: The Course of Smiling Among Groups of Israeli Infants in the First Eighteen Months of Life,’ the cover story in Pitfalls of Gynecology.”

In fractured, short chapters, Oreo decides arbitrarily that she has fulfilled a given task and therefore deserves another cryptic clue from her father. Ross gives us not a send-up of Theseus’s journey of labors, but her appropriation of his battles as her structure, her frame for her provocative urban picaresque…

Read the review here.

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JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-06-19 23:42Z by Steven

JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

University of Nebraska Press
July 2016
198 pages
6 tables, 1 appendix
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8565-1

Helen Kiyong Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Noah Samuel Leavitt, Associate Dean of Students
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

In 2010 approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children.

JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt’s book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kim and Leavitt’s research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the twenty-first century.

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A Creole melting pot: the politics of language, race, and identity in southwest Louisiana, 1918-45

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-06-17 18:04Z by Steven

A Creole melting pot: the politics of language, race, and identity in southwest Louisiana, 1918-45

University of Sussex
September 2015
353 pages

Christophe Landry

Doctorate of Philosophy in History

Southwest Louisiana Creoles underwent great change between World Wars I and II as they confronted American culture, people, and norms. This work examines that cultural transformation, paying particular attention to the processes of cultural assimilation and resistance to the introduction and imposition of American social values and its southern racial corollary: Jim Crow. As this work makes clear, the transition to American identity transmuted the cultural foundations of French- and Creole-speaking Creole communities. World War I signalled early transformative changes and over the next three decades, the region saw the introduction of English language, new industries, an increasing number of Protestant denominations, and the forceful imposition of racialized identities and racial segregation. Assimilation and cultural resistance characterized the Creole response, but by 1945, southwest Louisiana more closely resembled much of the American South. Creole leaders in churches, schools, and the tourism industry offered divergent reactions; some elite Creoles began looking to Francophone Canada for whitened ethnic identity support while others turned toward the Catholic establishment in Baltimore, Maryland to bolster their faith. Creoles were not the only distinct community to undergo Americanization, but Louisiana Creoles were singular in their response. As this study makes clear – in ways no historian has previously documented – Louisiana Creoles bifurcated as a result of Americanization. This study also contributes to, and broadens, the literature on Acadian identity. Previously, scholars simply assumed that whitened Latins in Louisiana had always identified with Acadia and their black-racialized brethren with Haiti. This thesis, however, suggests that Cajun and Creole are not opposites. Rather, they derive from the same people and culture, and their perceived and articulated difference emerged in response to Americanization. Through a critical analysis of that bifurcation process, this thesis demonstrates how Acadianized identity and culture emerged in the first half of the 20th century.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Dreaming Black/Writing White: The Hagar Myth in American Cultural History

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-05-21 23:06Z by Steven

Dreaming Black/Writing White: The Hagar Myth in American Cultural History

University Press of Kentucky
1999-12-16
224 pages
6 x 9 photos
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8131-2143-7

Janet Gabler-Hover, Professor of English
Georgia State University

Winner of the SAMLA 2001 Book Award

Hagar, the Old Testament Egyptian heroine who bore Abraham’s son at the behest of Sarah, was traditionally regarded as an African. Yet the literature and paintings of the nineteenth century depicted Hagar as white. During this period, she became a popular subject for writers and artists, with at least thirteen novels published between 1850 and 1913 taking Hagar as their theme. Dreaming Black/Writing White examines how, for white feminists, Hagar became a liberating symbol to empower their own rebellion against patriarchal restrictions. Hagar’s understood blackness allowed her to represent a combination of sexual passion and artistic creativity that empowered women in the process of taking on male roles of economic power in American society. Because of Hagar’s ethnic complexity, she stands as an ironically positive figure at the center of several southern proslavery women’s novels such as The Deserted Wife, Hagar the Martyr, and The Modern Hagar. Through the persona of Hagar, women novelists felt free to create heroines whose suggestive blackness allowed readers to imagine themselves in rebellion against a restrictive patriarchy, but whose recoverable whiteness provided a safety hatch through which blackness could be disavowed. By exploring these complex and often contradictory depictions, Janet Gabler-Hover contends that the figure of Hagar is central to the canonized romance of nineteenth-century New England literature. The book also affirms Toni Morrison’s claim that blackness—indeed black womanness—lies at the heart of the white literary imagination in America.

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How street kids in the Bronx taught me it’s OK to be biracial and gay

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Gay & Lesbian, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-05-18 21:06Z by Steven

How street kids in the Bronx taught me it’s OK to be biracial and gay

Fusion
2016-05-18

Terry Blas

As a “nerdy, Mexican, gay, Mormon child of the ’80s and ’90s,” cartoonist Terry Blas had trouble figuring out his identity… until an experience in New York taught him a valuable lesson.

Read the entire comic strip here.

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How My Jewish and Black Grandmothers Found Bernie

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2016-05-09 22:30Z by Steven

How My Jewish and Black Grandmothers Found Bernie

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-30

Jason Salmon


Photo above: Jason Salmon (center) and members of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) at an action in New York City for police accountability. Photo courtesy JFREJ.

Both of my grandmothers, one a Black woman and the other an Ashkenazi Jewish woman, recently became ardent Bernie Sanders supporters. They don’t articulate their passion like most of the younger supporters by saying, “I feel the Bern,” but they realize that in order for their grandchildren to reap the benefits of their hard work and contributions to society, whether social or economic, systemic change must happen. They grasp that they can’t subscribe to the status quo any longer.

Like many of the older generation who came from marginalized groups, my grandmothers are weighted down by the past and the oppression they experienced first-hand, while living through the Great Depression and segregated America. We are all, to some extent, prisoners of America’s past, but they feel its impact in ways I cannot…

Read the entire article here.

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Jews of Color Get Personal and Political at First-Ever National Gathering

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-05-09 00:12Z by Steven

Jews of Color Get Personal and Political at First-Ever National Gathering

Forward
2016-05-04

Sigal Samuel, Opinion Editor

If you want to get black Jews, Mizrahi Jews and a Palestinian-American Muslim to burst into tears at the same time, invite Yavilah McCoy to talk about hair.

Speaking at the opening plenary of the Jews of Color National Convening, which took place May 1–3 in Manhattan, McCoy gestured at the woman beside her, a fellow black Jewish leader named April Baskin . “I was there one night when she was just a girl and she was crying with joy on the shoulder of another black woman, because that was the first time she’d worn her hair in a full afro in a Jewish space — the first time she felt like she could show up as her full self.”

Hearing this memory brought to life, Baskin teared up and diverted her gaze from the 100-plus Jews of color who had piled into the synagogue sanctuary at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, which hosted the conference.

But McCoy wasn’t done. She turned to the audience and said, “Everyone here needs to hear this: You are beautiful. You are gorgeous. Anyone who told you otherwise was lying in the name of white supremacy.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Jewish/Afro-Caribbean Artist Explores Mixed Race Identities

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-05-06 22:09Z by Steven

Jewish/Afro-Caribbean Artist Explores Mixed Race Identities

The Canadian Jewish News
2016-05-03

Kathryn Kates


Sarah Waisvisz in her one-woman show ‘Monstrous‘ CHRISTOPHER SNOW PHOTO

Jewish/Afro-Caribbean artist, performer and playwright Sarah Waisvisz, 34, will be presenting her one-woman show, Monstrous, which explores the often ignored mixed race identity based on her own personal experiences, and her work on her PhD thesis research about Francophone/Anglophone literature specifically by Afro/Caribbean women.

Monstrous made its world premiere in February in Waisvisz’s hometown of Ottawa during the Undercurrent Festival. It will make its Toronto premiere on May 5, 8 p.m. at Toronto’s Artscape Wychwood Barns as part of the 14th Annual rock.paper.sistahz – a black, indigenous and multicultural festival featuring new works based on social issues examined in new and unusual ways. The festival runs from May 3-5…

Read the entire article here.

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The New Jewish Diaspora?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-05-01 19:53Z by Steven

The New Jewish Diaspora?

Forward
2016-04-28

Sam Kestenbaum
Shavei Israel

For centuries, world travelers dreamed of finding distant Jewish tribes in the faraway corners of their known world — over the mountains, in remote villages, practicing customs preserved in isolation.
Today, a quick Google search will do.

In Facebook groups and on Skype, on Whatsapp and Instagram, communities from Africa, Asia and the Americas gather to explore Judaism — and, as many see it, to rekindle ancestral connections to their ancient faith.

Individuals and communities have emerged in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, China, India, Spain, Peru, Portugal and elsewhere. Estimates vary about the numbers of broadly defined “emerging” communities — and range at the upper end in the millions.

Is this the Jewish Diaspora of the 21st century?

That’s the question that Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs is now considering. The State of Israel, for the most part, has kept many of these groups at a distance, wary of making blanket decisions and of parsing out each community’s complicated ancestral claims or individual religious practice…

Read the entire article here.

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