Hi, I’m MaNishtana, and right now I am seriously, seriously, seriously annoyed.
Yet again, in an amazing show of irresponsible journalism and a masterful tapestry interweaving falsehoods, half-truths, emotional pandering, and guilt-baiting, the latest article from Tablet Magazine reads “Black Jewish Congregations Get Their Own Prayer Book, After Nearly a Century”, with a heartstring-tugging subtitle of “Mainstream Judaism doesn’t recognize their temples or their rabbis. In a new siddur, Black Jews tell their community’s story.”
Look, I don’t know how, many, times I have to tell you, but this IS NOT BLACK JUDAISM. IT IS NOT BLACK JEWRY. IT IS NOT THE BLACK JEWISH COMMUNITY.
“West African Jewish” liturgy and traditions? Really? Do the Igbo know about this? The Sefwi? Because I’m willing to bet they’d be hella surprised that apparently there’s some Jewish tradition that apparently they should be following, since, y’know, THEY’RE ACTUALLY WEST AFRICAN JEWS.
I’m really not understanding why I have to keep reiterating this point. ESPECIALLY since you’ve already demonstrated that you understand the concept.
What am I talking about?
Well this article right here from–shockingly enough–Tablet Magazine.
In it, it describes a group of Christians–White Christians–who have taken on Jewish practices. Orthodox practices even, such as getting circumcised, laying tefillin, keeping kosher, keeping Shabbat and holidays, and growing peyot.
However, does Tablet say these folk are “Jews who mainstream Judaism doesn’t recognize”? That they are part of “American Jewry”?
In fact, how does Tablet describe this group? Well, let’s see:
“Many of the thousand-plus people who attended Revive 2013, a religious conference held at the Dallas Sheraton last June, wear tzitzit. Many keep kosher and observe the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Some of the men have beards and peyos. Some have even undergone adult circumcision and/or have circumcised their children. They learn Hebrew, Chumash, even Talmud, and travel whenever they can to Israel. All of them truly, deeply love Hashem.
Yet I’m fairly certain I was the only Jewish person there.”
“a movement of—for lack of a better term—Torah-observant gentiles. These are non-Jews who have no intention of converting to Judaism yet follow laws, customs, beliefs, and practices commonly associated with Judaism.“
“Between classes I visited a small conference room on the second floor that acted as a makeshift day care. Most of the 20 or so children were wearing tzitzit, and some had yarmulkes—which are a rabbinic, not a biblical, precept. They listened as the counselors spoke about Hashem, forefathers, prayers, and Israel. When the children would get a little rowdy, the counselor would say a Hebrew prayer call-and-response: “Barchu es Ad-nai hamevorach!” And the kids would shout back, “Baruch Ad-nai hamevorach l’olam va’ed!”
“And many are fulfilling mitzvot that aren’t explicitly stated or detailed in the Torah, such as praying the rabbinic liturgy and observing Hanukkah. Some put on kosher tefillin every morning, and I met a number of Hebrew Roots followers who do not touch money on the Sabbath—which many of them call “Shabbos,” in the style of contemporary ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The unprecedented accessibility of Orthodox texts and ideas online has helped facilitate this appropriation.“
“I asked Camero, as I asked everyone else I met, why he doesn’t simply convert to Judaism.“
So…wait, you do get it Tablet and everyone else? You do get that just because a group of non-Jews has taken on Jewish and even Orthodox practices doesn’t mean that they are Jews?
For all those in the “Well I consider [these “Black Jews”] to be Jews” camp, do you also consider this group to be Jews, too?
So why is it when the group in question is Black, all of a sudden the group is a put-upon oppressed segment of Jews who aren’t being recognized by Big Judaism?
The discrepancy must only mean that, for all your enlightened, socially justified, forward-thinking, let’s-heal-the-world liberalism…you just don’t care.
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