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JewishJournal.com

July 2, 2008

Conversions up, African-American Jews on the move

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/conversions_up_african_american_jews_growing_fast_20080630/

This spring, we saw a flashbang in Jewish-black relations with the saga of Daphna Ziman and the Rev. Eric Lee. Those waters have smoothed, and this week in New York, a former colleague of Martin Luther King Jr’s (no, not this one) said it is essential to both blacks and Jews that the communities identify their shared needs:

“As blacks and Jews, the wind may blow, the rain may beat down on an old house, be it a house in Brooklyn, Atlanta, America, Israel or Africa, but we all live in the same house,” Rep. John Lewis, a leader of the civil rights movement who stood behind Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, told a group of Jewish and black leaders in Brooklyn this week.

“We are one people, one family and we must stay together and build a society at peace with itself.”

Agreed. Interestingly, though, in an increasing number of cases, Lewis’ comment that “we all live in the same house” is especially true. What do I mean? Well, beside the reality that blacks and Jews have similar political sentiments, and the fact that Jews have historically felt the brunt of persecution whenever a society discriminated against anyone, there is a growing community of African American who are, in fact, Jewish.

Would you believe it numbers 150,000?

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