All posts by MaNishtana

MaNishtana is an Orthodox Jewish blogger, author of "Thoughts From A Unicorn: 100% Black. 100% Jewish. 0% Safe", and the Executive Director of The Shivtei Jeshurun Society for the Advancement of Jewish Racial & Ethnic Diversity ( He blogs at He drinks anywhere.

I Have A Reality…

Of the many dynamic figures of the Civil Rights Movement, no two have been the victims of a reductionist legacy the way Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have. When called to mind, most people remember Malcolm X’s association with the Nation of Islam and his tirades on white people being the devil and of the inherent superiority of blacks over whites, ignoring that after his pilgrimage to Mecca he left the Nation of Islam, embraced true Islam as a Sunni Muslim, eschewed black separatism, and had begun reconsidering his support for black nationalism. Continue reading I Have A Reality…


They Wouldn’t Even Bury Her

Identifying names and locations have been obscured to protect the subject and her family. To avoid naming the direct city in which this incident occurred or to cast undue aspersion on the Jewish community of a different city, we have edited the location to the state.

We’ll call her Yonah.

She was only a Facebook friend. We’d spoken a few times virtually. Chimed in on the same threads in the same groups that we both belonged to with our mutual friends. Even shared some of the same articles and blog posts (some of which were mine). She was vibrant and funny. She was young. Continue reading They Wouldn’t Even Bury Her

Taking But Not Giving

In the wake of the Paris attacks, I posted a simple yet pointed status on my Facebook page:

“Just a PSA for persons on an “obviously Muslims are terrible” rant:

American slavery ended in 1865. The Holocaust was in 1939.The civil rights act was signed in 1964. South African apartheid ended in 1994. So it’s essentially only been 21 years since most of white Christians FINALLY realized it’s in poor form to treat other people like garbage.
Continue reading Taking But Not Giving

You’re Talking to Gd Wrong

It happens to me every year. Every holiday. Every day, in fact.

I come across this one word, and my soul cringes inside my body knowing that millions of Jews have absolutely no clue that they’re saying it wrong. I didn’t know that I’d been saying it wrong for years myself until I stumbled across a random shul newsletter a few years back.

And, seeing as how this word is one of Gd’s names, saying it wrong is kind of a big deal. Continue reading You’re Talking to Gd Wrong

What Side Should Jewish-Americans Take On Ferguson?

All throughout the Gaza conflict, there were headlines of a certain kind that bothered me in a certain way.

“Israel or Palestine? Do Black People Have A Stake In The Conflict?”
“Why The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Should Matter To Black People”
“What Side Should Black Americans Take On Israel?”
“Why African-Americans Should Support The State of Israel”

It seemed that not five minutes of the continuing conflict would pass by without yet another appeal for the support, input, or opinion of African-Americans on the situation in the Middle East. The rationale of course being parallels drawn between the plight of the Palestinian people and the African American Civil Rights movement (because remember that time African-Americans had missiles to launch at the Klan?) and a convenient case of apparent amnesia regarding the waves of anti-Black anti-immigrant pogroms which had recently swept through Israel.  Continue reading What Side Should Jewish-Americans Take On Ferguson?

Shia LaBeouf and Judaism’s White Flight

In a recent interview with Interview Magazine, troubled Jewish actor Shia LaBeouf of Transformers fame and Indiana Jones infamy touted his newfound faith in, and conversion to, Christianity. The announcement was met with equal levels unrest and skepticism as the public response vacillated between anguish at another loss to the numbers of American Jewry and the reality that LaBeouf has proven time and again to be quite the adept prankster. In fact, the Religion News Service is quoted as saying “[some people] really want to believe that LaBeouf is a Christian now because having famous people on ‘our’ side makes ‘our’ case stronger. But after watching the movie and then re-reading the interview, it will be clear that Shia was laughing his way to the bank over all the hubbub.”

Regardless of how sincere LaBeouf’s claim is, it nonetheless is proof positive of the endemic laid bare by the most recent Pew Survey: American Judaism is hemorrhaging. And non-Orthodoxy is hemorrhaging marginally harder.  Continue reading Shia LaBeouf and Judaism’s White Flight

New Year, New Judaism

“Do you want wine, beer, or scotch?”

“Scotch,” I immediately answered. Nearly before Gordon could even finish the word.

I entered the living room—my caramel wife, cinnamon daughter, and grey-eyed blonde-haired mother-in-law following behind me—to the scene of three little tykes scampering around the on the floor while their parents, Matthue and Itta, and Gordon’s wife and brother Rachel and Seth were lounging on several seating surfaces ranging from couch to folding chair, heartily engaged in the labor of polishing off a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 standing beside a plate of organic pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

No, this wasn’t game night or a weirdly classy Super Bowl party. This was Rosh Hashanah. (After services, naturally).  Continue reading New Year, New Judaism