Identity, Justice

Rev. Jackson comes to Shul Many may recall Jackson’s tsuris in 1984 when, during a presidential bid, Jackson referred to NYC as Hymie-town. Ever since, he has made strides to make amends and build bridges to the Jewish community.
This fall, when bombs were sent to Chicago synagogues from Yemen, Jackson showed up at Anshe Emet Synagogue to show his solidarity.  It would have been better had it been on Saturday during services, but ‘A’  for effort.
Still, there is always room to improve relations between African-Americans and Jews. And so Rabbi Michael Siegel took the opportunity to invite Jackson back to the Synagogue for Shabbat services… on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.
Rev. showed up at Shul for a lively Kabbalat Shabbat service with Cantor Alberto Mizrahi, gospel choir in tow. They belted out a few numbers (and made a few people uncomfortable with the mention of Jesus). The messages of solidarity were reinforced, and all were reminded of the time when a previous Rabbi of Anshe Emet marched with Dr. King. “We Shall Overcome” was sung. Kaddish was recited for Dr. King by a crowd of hundreds. Then we all hit the oneg buffet.
All in all, an inspiring evening. Though part of me is always a little cynical about such symbolic acts, it’s easy to put it in check when you think about how far we’ve come since 1984.  We’ve got a long way to go still toward fixing the rift between Blacks and Jews, but with more events like these, we shall overcome… someday.

3 thoughts on “Rev. Jackson comes to Shul

  1. It is a shanda that a shul will bring in a choir singing of jesus on a Friday night. What is Jesse Jackson doing on the bima and who put him there? Of what relevance is the man to celebrating shabbas? What is going through the rabbis’ heads?

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