The “Israelite with Egyptian Principles”

Judah P. Benjamin was confirmed as Secretary of War of the Confederacy on this date in 1861. Benjamin was a plantation owner, slaveholder and attorney who had served as U.S. senator from Louisiana (the second Jewish senator in history after David Levy Yulee of Florida) and had twice declined appointment to the Supreme Court. Republican Senator […]

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“Marshall” — Civil Rights and Old-Fashioned Shul Jews

by Elliot B. Gertel Discussed in this essay: Marshall, a film directed by directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff. THE WELL-WRITTEN and finely-acted movie Marshall may have taken some liberties in depicting Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) and Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad), the Bridgeport, Connecticut Jewish attorney who helped out with a noted […]

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Blacks and Jews Together

The massive March on Washington at which Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” took place on this date in 1963. Immediately before Dr. King took the podium, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, spoke to the 200,000 demonstrators as follows: “I speak to you as an […]

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Do Black Lives Matter?

Plagues that Oppress 42 Million of Our Brethren by the Editorial Board From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents AT PASSOVER, as part of the ritual of connecting to the Jewish spirit of liberation, Jews recite a list of the legendary plagues that marked the days of resistance to slavery in ancient Egypt. The […]

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The Terror and Trauma of Being Black

by Mark Naison Discussed in this essay: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Spiegel & Grau, 2015, 176 pages LET ME SAY at the outset that I cannot be objective in reviewing Ta-Nehisi Coates new book, Between the World and Me, which is addressed to his 15-year-old son, who burst into tears when learning […]

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June 22: A Synagogue, a Cyclone

Chicago’s Congregation Beth El, founded immediately after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, was destroyed by a cyclone on this date in 1873. That evening a meeting of the congregation raised sufficient funding to start the building of a new synagogue on the same site. The congregation still thrives today as a Reform temple. A […]

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