Selma‘s Missing Rabbi

Including Heschel would not diminish the film’s emphasis on the centrality of African Americans in the civil rights struggle, but it would have lent the film more historical accuracy, not simply about one man but as a representative of the role Jews played in the freedom struggle and as a reflection of the Civil Rights movement’s inclusiveness.

The Demon in Darren Wilson’s Head

The actions of police officers aren’t supposed to be governed by fear. But Darren Wilson’s were. Wilson’s actions, however, weren’t “his actions,” but rather an outcropping of what theologian Sarah Drummond aptly calls “an epigenetic, cellular memory of loss and its resultant need for a scapegoat.”

Strategy to Deal with Racist Police Forces by Reginald Lyles

For Whom the Bell Tolls
by John Donne and Reginald Lyles

Reginald W. Lyles  is 1.  the Senior Advisor for public safety to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan; 2.  a retired career law enforcement officer (Command level); 3.  a 30+-year Deacon of Allen Temple Baptist Church – one of the largest African-American churches in the country; 4.  and a recent Master of Community and Leadership Divinity graduate and Bible Scholar Award-winner of the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Deacon Lyles teaches, trains and advises churches, governmental, and non-governmental organizations locally and across the country on public safety and civil and human rights. No man is an island,

Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

Honor Block

True to its reputation, the prison was violent. And ugly. I witnessed cuttings and stabbings in the yard. They erupted without warning, like lightning. At night in my cell, I heard the screams of men being beaten by the guards.

Trayvon Martin: Reflections on the Black and Jewish Struggle for Justice

Since the 1960s, efforts at coalition building and solidarity work between Jewish and Black communities have suffered and never reached the pinnacle that was reached during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. In 2013, the lack of deep and abiding connections between Black and Jewish activists became apparent in the disparate responses from Jewish communities to the events surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman. To reinvigorate a coalition among blacks and Jews we need to forge deeper ties across racial lines.

Nelson Mandela: A Jewish Perspective

Jews love and loved Nelson Mandela. He inspired us with his insistence that the old regime of apartheid would crumble more quickly and fully when faced with revolutionary love and compassion than when faced with anger and violence. Mandela also challenged us to think deeply about whether the current situation in Israel/Palestine reflects the ethic of compassion that is so central to Judaism.

The Original Rainbow Coalition: An Example of Universal Identity Politics

Are identity and class-based politics necessarily at odds? Jakobi Williams answers with a resounding no, recalling a historic period when identity and class-based politics were dynamically entwined: the moment when the original Rainbow Coalition came into being. Set up by the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, the Rainbow Coalition offers an inspiring example of how identity politics can result in cross-class and interracial solidarity, rather than a fragmentation of the Left.