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Exploring Black-Jewish Relations with Jacques Berlinerblau

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In this 5-week course, we will review the long and complex history between the Black American and Jewish American communities, asking ourselves what the current moment says about their past and future engagement. 

 Since the presidential election of Donald J. Trump in 2016, white nationalist movements in the United States have re-emerged as aggrieved, organized, and energetic actors claiming they “just want their country back.” What unites these disparate extremist groups is a shared hatred for persons of African and Jewish ancestry. The jarring chants in Charlottesville of “Blacks will not replace us!,” “Jews will not replace us!,” as well as the eerily parallel massacres at houses of worship in Pittsburgh and Charleston, exposed the central targets of the radical right’s wrath.

The resurgence of hate groups in the United States engenders a somewhat urgent historical moment for Black Americans and Jewish Americans. It urges them to explore why their flesh/face/embodiment ignites the ire of white supremacists. It also prompts them to ponder the apathy of others who sit silently on the sidelines hoping the problem will fade once again into the crevices of America’s underside. As “alt-right” rhetoric increasingly normalizes itself in public life, the time would seem to be right for America’s Blacks and Jews to rekindle the fires of the civil rights movement, working together once again for political and social engagement on issues ranging from police brutality to voting rights to xenophobia, etc.  

In this 5-week course, we will review the long and complex history between these two "mirrored" communities, asking ourselves what the current moment says about their past and future engagement. 

Dates: Mondays starting 4/6
Time: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free for WHC members; $18 for non-members

This course will be conducted via Zoom.

Click here to register for this course.

About the Instructor:

Jacques Berlinerblau is a professor, the Rabbi Harold White Chair in Jewish Civilization, and the Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has doctorates in Ancient Near Eastern languages and literature (from NYU) and theoretical sociology (from the New School for Social Research). He has published on a wide variety of scholarly subjects with special attention to heresy, atheism, secularism, Jewish-American literature, and biblical literature.