One of the reasons I like living in Israel versus living in America is the greater degree of anonymity I am afforded, due to the much larger number of Jews of African descent who are part of Israeli society. While it’s true that I don’t look in any way Ethiopian–the ethnic group that comprises the majority of our Black Jewry–I am close enough that people don’t feel the need to examine my life choices or question why I am a convert (or even bring it up much at all…when it comes up it is almost always from a fellow Westerner). Continue reading Is Black Death A Footnote?
The first thing I noticed was the tent. It had appeared in the front yard of my apartment complex like a mushroom sometime between the early morning–when I had shuffled off blearily towards the train station–and nightfall, when I shuffled back blearily to fetch my kids and wind up the day. It was illuminated from within, a warm cheery glow, as if someone had lit a small fire, perhaps to tell stories and toast marshmallows. Continue reading Remembering the Death on Yom Yerushalayim
It took a smoker to make me understand what the Ethiopian Jews here in Israel are going through. Continue reading Blowing Smoke At Ethiopian Jewry
I always have a hard time picking out a Purim costume. For the first few years after my conversion, I didn’t even bother, sticking to a tasteful outfit that says “I wouldn’t even consider getting drunk!” Continue reading Blackface for Purim?
Recently, I contacted New York City’s Department of Health to get more information on the reason that so many names of Jewish origin have become popular, and why those names are heavily represented in the “White” category. Continue reading Ethnic Jews are White, Per Census Guidelines
One of the reasons I moved to Israel was my belief that America is an overwhelmingly Christian country. While freedom of religion is a constitutional right, this is solely related to governmental influence on the population. And it is true that America does not have an official religion, England, Iceland, or unsurprisingly, Vatican City. However, this does not mean that the consensus of personal religious preference does not have an impact on American culture. Continue reading Time Out for Time Off
At the beginning of each new year (and I do mean each – Rosh Hashana, January 1st, Tu B’Shevat, the season premier of American Idol) I make a resolution to get in shape. Sometimes the focus is on my stomach, in the metaphorical sense, and I make drastic changes to my diet plan. South Beach, Long Beach, Fast Beach… My favorite was the “Beaches” diet, where you hang out with a childhood friend and alternate between gossiping about other people and catfights for so long that you forget to eat. Continue reading Couch To College
Racial profiling is a part of Israel in a way that is not possible in America, both due to Civil Rights laws making discrimination illegal, as well as the current state of political correctness, which makes it unpopular to vocalize that one group of people should be treated differently than another.
This, of course, does not mean that profiling does not happen in the United States. Rather, it becomes subtle, almost an art form, where store clerks turn into master spies, following like a shadow as you move through the store. Or perhaps your car is stopped for a borderline issue which gives a distrustful police officer a pretense to check your license and plates. Continue reading Racial Profiling: A Necessary Evil?
My latest experience with what I like to call the “fake liberal friend” or FLF began with a Facebook discussion of the conversion crisis sparked by the recent accusations of abuse of potential converts leveled against Rabbi Barry Freundel, a leader in the Modern Orthodox movement. As part of the exchange, my FLF noted that her mother belonged to the Conservative movement and held generally liberal views, but was unable to accept converts as truly Jewish.
“I think it may be a generational thing,” she wrote. “She’s 87.”
Jokingly, I replied, “Yeah. She’d probably still be calling me colored.” Continue reading Your Mother Called My Grandparents What?!
Jennifer Cramblett, a woman from Ohio, plans to sue a sperm bank after erroneously being given sperm from a Black man. This has led to a torrent of charges of racism, particularly after the lawsuit alleged that the mother has “limited cultural competency relative to African-Americans and steep learning curve, particularly in small, homogeneous Uniontown, which she regards as too racially intolerant.”
As both the mother of biracial children, and as an adoptee, I have mixed (pun intended) feelings about the criticism of Cramblett’s actions. I find it odd that Black community continually tells the world how much harder it is to raise a Black child, and yet seems offended when someone from outside the community makes a similar assertion. Continue reading A Case of Mistaken Identity