Looking Back at Jews and the Civil Rights Movement

Posted On Apr 5, 2021 / 5781 | Monday Webinar The Other in Jewish Text and Tradition

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Part of the series “The ‘Other’ in Jewish Text and Tradition”

The story of how Jews were key allies to African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement is well known. But when historical narratives become conventional wisdom, it can lead to stagnation. Now, many are asking when it comes to Black-Jewish relations, where do we go from here? In this session, led by Dr. Jason Schulman, we will look back at the story of Jews and the Civil Rights Movement to explore some new directions for the study of the field and new bases for honest dialogue. 


We live in a time of such polarization—political, racial, economic, religious—that the gaps between us sometimes feel insurmountable. But this is not a new condition for Jews, either within or outside of the Jewish community. This webinar series will explore those gaps between “us” and “the other”: Israelites and other ancient peoples; men and women in the Bible and Talmud; Jews by birth and Jews by choice; the founders of Hasidim and their opponents; Israelis and Palestinians; and more. 

From the ancient Near East to the American civil rights movement; from medieval philosophers to contemporary Jewish educators: how have Jews related to those we define as “other,” and how have we marginalized sub-groups within the Jewish community? What is our obligation to those we perceive as different? How have Jews challenged communal norms from within? JTS scholars guide us in an intellectual journey through Jewish history and text to understand how these gaps have been understood and, at times, bridged.

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At JTS, we are committed to providing the Jewish community with outstanding classes in Judaic studies. We hope you will partner with us so that we can continue to do so. Did you know that you can sponsor a learning session to honor a loved one, celebrate an occasion, or commemorate a yahrzeit? To learn more visit the Community Learning sponsorship page or email learninglives@jtsa.edu.