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February 5: Charles Silberman

February 5, 2013

Charles Silberman, who wrote best-sellers on criminal justice, education, race relations, and the status of the American Jewish community, died in Sarasota, Florida at 86 on this date in 2011. In Crisis in Black and White (1964), he reviewed America's history of slavery and racial oppression and traced its effects on the lives and psychology of African-Americans today. In Crisis in the Classroom: The Remaking of American Education (1970), underwritten by the Carnegie Foundation, he described the bleak and oppressive condition of the American public education system. In Criminal Violence, Criminal Justice (1978), he documented the racism built into the prison and criminal justice systems. In A Certain People: American Jews and Their Lives Today (1986), he presented an optimistic view of American Jewish life that challenged the hand-wringing stance of most American Jewish leaders. Silberman, a co-founder of the Reconstructionist movement's West End Synagogue in New York, was an engaging, personable writer and thorough researcher.

"It takes guts to bring good news to the Jewish community." —Charles Silberman

JEWDAYO ROCKS! Al Kooper (Alan Peter Kuperschmidt), founder of The Blues Project, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the Super Session recordings with Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills, Carlos Santana and others, was born on this date in 1944. To see him playing "I Can't Keep From Crying" at a Blues Project reunion, see below.