Black-Jewish Relations in the Obama Era

By Maital Guttman

I remember the first time I saw <a href=”“>Sarah Silverman’s “Great Schlep.” My favorite part comes when she compares Jewish old folk with black folk. Sarah’s right not just about the track suits, but also about our historical parallels. Our peoples have been oppressed and they have overcome. We have a shared history of working together and have achieved great–even miraculous– accomplishments when we work together.

And, to me, this is the key: working together. Enough are the days when we pit our pains against one another to see who is more of a “victim.” In this era of hope, it is time we continue to harness our communities powers to bring about positive change to this country. So, I’d like to give three examples of what working together can look like.

First, and the reason we stand in such a unique position in history: my main man, President Obama. Six weeks before the election, I returned to my homestate of North Carolina to volunteer to help turn the state blue. I was moved and inspired by the diversity of Obama’s supporters and produced a video showcasing these faces.

By working together, we were all able to overcome our differences and unite towards a common goal of hope and progress.

Obama was able to inspire people to use their own skills to make a difference. This was also true this week at the premiere of the dance-opera entitled “Peace Piece.” The 50-minute multimedia show was co-created by Tera Greene, a black DJ with a Jewish soul, and Marissa Alma Nick, a Cuban Jewish dancer. The first show was a huge success, and brought people of all colors, religions, and sexual orientations together to celebrate what is possible when we work together.

Finally, in order for our communities to work together, we must also learn and share from one another’s cultures and histories. Every year, on the Shabbat before MLK Day, my dad’s synagogue in Greensboro, NC hosts an “MLK Shabbat,” where we invite various churches to learn about Shabbat, hear about their perspective, and celebrate our communities working together.

We stand in a unique moment in history where we were able to do what many deemed impossible. May we seize this moment and keep turning the Dream into Reality.

Producer/Director Maital Guttman is an Israeli born documentary filmmaker now based in Los Angeles. She is passionate about bringing people together across boundaries, and has created documentary photographs and video in New Orleans, Thailand, Uruguay, Poland, Israel, Morocco, and Moldova. In 2006, she produced a documentary a film that premiered at The International AIDS Conference in Toronto and is being distributed by the Red Cross of Southern Africa. Her first film, entitled “Mechina:A Preparation,” explores the lives of 18-year old students in Israel who are preparing for their army service. She toured with the film nationwide to more than twenty thousands people at various high schools, colleges, and film festivals. Currently, she is producing “Whatint Abafazi: When You Strike a Woman,” a documentary about one South African woman’s story of hope through the hardship of living with HIV.

About tolerantamerica

On her recent tour for her book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, Lisa was inspired by the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American elected president of the United States, to encourage cross-cultural dialogue about multiculturalism in America. To increase tolerance and understanding across communities, Lisa launched "A More Tolerant America" to feature guest bloggers, authors, activists, artists and other writers, who, like her, are multicultural. Klug's father is a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor from Poland and the descendant of a Spanish Jewish family that escaped the Spanish Inquisition. During her tour, Lisa encountered ignorance and bigotry toward Jewish Americans. As part of her campaign, this blog will giveaway books and other materials that promote cross-cultural dialogue.
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2 Responses to Black-Jewish Relations in the Obama Era

  1. Mike says:

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

  2. Pingback: HaTikva: The Hope, Remixed « Tolerant Nation

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