July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Jewish and Black: Shining Light on Dark Evil

Shock, disgust, confusion—that’s the mood we’re all in. What can Jews do for the ailing black community? There are so many conflicting opinions as to the core problem, so how can anyone know what to do? If ever there was a time for the Jewish nation to take up the mantle for, and purpose of, Creation that time is now. I straddle both worlds, I see both sides—because I am Jewish and black.

America was built on an idea of freedom, but racism has always been present. Slavery’s ragged scars left festering wounds and spread its infection of intolerance, violence and fear like a cancer, metastasizing fast through a once-impenetrable nation. True healing won’t come about through elections, political agendas, protests, laws, or the mobilization of an army against its own citizens. It won’t come about from divisiveness, fear mongering, or from the false strength that money provides. If corona taught us anything, it taught us that the most powerful, financially secure can wipe out overnight; that nothing is guaranteed, and life and health are more precious than material goods. If ever there was a time for Jews to shine their light, that time is now.

Competing social narratives convolute the importance of the central message: that America is prejudiced against brown-skinned people. Period. From Columbus to Jefferson, to Trump from back rooms to the board room, brown-skinned people work harder, longer for less and are overwhelmingly mocked and feared. The fear campaign began at the birth of the nation. Native Americans were slaughtered, forced from their homeland, forcibly sterilized, prevented from expressing their religion, agriculture, language, music and governing style. The decades-long brutal massacre of an estimated 100 million Indians were the policies of England, the Founding Fathers, and with The Indian Removal Act, the land was finally cleared for white-skinned settlers to take it—free.

Slave labor was imported. Brown people ripped not only from their country but forever stolen away from their continent. An estimated six million died during the crossing and were dumped into the sea. The survivors faced 200+ years of brutal generational slavery. Stripped of dignity, language, religion, food, music and agriculture, forbidden to read and write, systematically raped, whipped and degraded. The Constitution further legalized the inhumanity of brown-skinned people by calling them 3/5s human. From the auction block to sharecropping, to the Tulsa Race Riots, the Tuskegee Experiment and Jim Crow—compassion and acknowledgement are overdue. Tools, not handouts, must be given. The melting pot has bubbled over with violent hate, but healing can begin if we all understand that the race-based chattel slavery is a stain we all bear. It is locked into the DNA of every American, white and brown alike. It is in the fabric of our existence.

The oppressive cycle of suffering continues as black on black crime, racial profiling, police brutality, disproportionate criminal sentencing, limited opportunities or access to healthcare, education and jobs. But Jews have a shared 130-year slave experience, a bond with blacks no other people in the history of the world can really claim. Driven out of our land, six million slaughtered by Germans and yet still many live at the mercy of host governments and ideologies. This is our common ground. Unfortunately, we now see a rise in anti- Semitism. Sadly, a lot is perpetrated by black Americans, so now more than ever it is time to shine light on the darkness and our mutual history.

Black lives matter philosophically, but leadership within this organization has denounced the State of Israel’s right to exist; therefore no Jew should align with this group. So that God forbid it be misinterpreted as lack of empathy, we must find alternative ways to raise our voices. The painful video of George Floyd’s life being snuffed out, the execution of Breonna Taylor in her home and Ahmaud Arbery hunted down and shot while jogging in his neighborhood reminds us there is a systemic priority to protect the killers and villainize the victim.

Early Africans fought along with colonists against the British for the very Independence they were denied in the Constitution. It took 13 amendments and 89 years to outlaw slavery, and many slaves were not even told slavery was over (Juneteeth). The white settlers, Founding Fathers and capitalist businessmen then and now cheat brown-skinned people at every turn. Torah tells us that All Lives Matter, every second of every life is precious no matter what. Our role is to reflect the truth of Torah among the nations.

Racism destroys not just black lives and families but the hope of a people. Sure there are individual success stories and even free choice, but as a people they have had more oppression than opportunity. Misinformation is pumped on social media. The audacious Palestinian propaganda machine has linked George Floyd and the Black American struggle (through BLM) with the fictional Palestinian struggle breeding more confusion, chaos and mistrust within the black community.

I see both sides. As a brown-skinned American I say be outraged. As an Israeli Jew I say use our platform of influence to transform darkness into light, to express the infinite value of every human life. Be compassionate, express our shared commonality as slaves, use our collective intelligence and position to make meaningful peace. May we live our spiritual mission as a beacon of Godliness, reminding the nations of their responsibility to the seven laws of Noach demonstrating truth that Hashem is king, Hashem is one!


Elisheva Fhima is an inspirational writer, speaker, teacher, wife and mom now living in Israel whose previous work included on-air marketing for all major network news stations. Follow on Instagram @innerblossomlife and Twitter @innerblossom3. 

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