‘Teach-in’ for MLK Day brings together two East Village congregations for dialogue

Together this previous Sunday, Jan. 15, Center Collegiate Church and East Finish Temple held a Martin Luther King Jr. Educate-In, (Re) Constructing Black and Jewish Neighborhood. A very significant dialogue for these two congregations —a UCC and Reformed Church in America affiliate with a Reform Jewish congregation, they’re intricately linked.

Two years in the past, a six-alarm hearth devastated the historic East Village Center Church on 2nd Avenue. The East seventeenth Avenue Jewish temple supplied its worship area to the congregants of Center Church. Each congregations have roots in social justice; they discovered match.

Sunday worship launched the day. Center Church (MC) is thought for its foot-stomping Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, skilled for the primary time by some attendees. From the temple’s ark, throughout the service, the rabbi introduced out the torah—the scroll containing the primary 5 books of the previous testomony; witnessing this non secular object was a primary for a few of MC’s congregants.

The choir resounded via “Rich Man’s House” (Gonna take again what he stole from me) and belted out to hand-clapping accompaniment “Takin’ It to the Streets,” which obtained everybody’s blood pumping. Harmonious heart-felt vibes wrapped up the service with a rendition of “We Shall Overcome”, which didn’t really feel cliche or dated.

(Re) Constructing Black and Jewish Neighborhood formally started because the two religious leaders—Reverend Jacqueline Lewis and Rabbi Joshua Stanton held a dialog addressed to all.

Among the many matters touched upon: tensions between the Black and Jewish (and Christian) communities and the actual harmful nature of Kanye West and different celebrities’ anti-semitism; america by no means proudly owning as much as the trauma of slavery; and Black labor and reparations.

Rabbi Stanton revealed his makes an attempt to confront his personal private prejudices and racism. He spoke at size in regards to the lack of know-how skilled by Jews of Colour inside the Jewish Ashkanzi (ancestors from Japanese or Central Europe) neighborhood.

White supremacy and its many vile tentacles is a theme addressed many instances throughout the dialogue. It included the stereotyping and racializing of Ashkenazi Jews.

Questions from congregants add to the dialogue.

Reverend Lewis reminded her co-religionist “siblings” that Jesus was Jewish, in actual fact Afro-Semitic. She challenged them to confront their very own personal prejudices—“to be anti-semitic is to be anti-Jesus; he was a Jew.”

She spoke of the pitting of minorities towards one another, duking it out for the skinny slice of the American dream.

“What are conversations going on in your community?” Rabbi Stanton asks Reverend Lewis? Her nuanced response is how, “We’re both walking wounded, Blacks and Jews from centuries of white supremacy.”

She continues, “I don’t understand those who say the Holocaust never happened. White people are wounded too; the sickness of white supremacy hurts every friggin’ body.”

In the meantime Rabbi Stanton provides that the projected stereotypes of Jewish energy (“the Jews are in control of…..”) units up Jews as targets of violence and likewise positions them for failure.

Whiteness— the white supremacist whiteness ideology— is a assemble towards Blackness (additionally towards Jewishness, LatinX, Hispanic, and Asian), elaborates Rev. Jacqui.

She provides an expanded definition, “White people are white, rich, Christian, straight, male– the superwhite that are the real white people. The rest are passing for white—not white enough. Everyone else is in a caste lower than that.” Difficult, she asks, ‘Do we would like that, characterizations of white? White supremacy is the enemy of all of us.”

Center Church member Pleasure Lau is struck by Rev. Jacqui’s observations that in an environment of hate and hated, BOTH are so negatively affected.

Rev. Lewis commented that to counter folks’s intuition reverting to at least one’s personal tribe, one should improve your sense of tribe and consciously attain past your tribe.

Center Church prides itself on attracting congregants that “look like the subway”— all religions and persuasions, gender and sexual identifications. Multi-cultural, multi-ethnic actions are what’s wanted and Rabbi Stanton voiced that he experiences Center Church as a grasp class in turning into a multi-cultural , multi-racial, multi-faith home of worship.

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