Times Will Tell

PODCAST: Hear 3 unique voices speak on Black/Jewish trust and solidarity

In honor of Black History Month, questions and answers on pressing issues facing both communities in a frank discussion on racism in the US — and inside the Jewish community

This week on The Times of Israel’s weekly podcast Times Will Tell, we honor Black History Month and speak to three members of the Black and Jewish communities about their experiences, their struggles and their visions for the future in a panel, “Circles of Trust: Black and Jewish Communities Fight Together for Change.”

A little about our panelists: The Times of Israel readers may be familiar with Ed Gaskin through his stunning blog on The Times of Israel, “After the Tree of Life tragedy, I went to Shabbat services and never stopped.” Gaskin still attends services at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts, as well as the Roxbury Presbyterian Church in Roxbury. He is joining us from Randolph, Massachusetts.

Gaskin earned an M. Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and graduated as a Martin Trust fellow from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He has published several books on a range of topics with social justice themes, was a co-organizer of the first faith-based initiative on reducing gang violence at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and has taught a seminary class on the topic of Christianity and the problem of racism for over 25 years.

Gaskin is asked: In an era in which the Black and Jewish communities are being singled out and attacked, what ways can both communities support each other — spiritually and tangibly?

Clockwise from left: Ginna Green, Ed Gaskin and Rabbi Shais Rishon speak in The Times of Israel’s panel, ‘Circles of trust: How Black and Jewish communities can fight together for change,’ in honor of Black History Month. (courtesy)

Ginna Green is a political strategist, writer, movement-builder, and consultant, and partner and chief strategy officer at Uprise. A Schusterman senior fellow and a Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance notable woman, Green is also a fellow at the Kogod Research Center of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and sits on the boards of Women’s March, Political Research Associates, the Jews of Color Initiative, Bend the Arc, and the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.

Green is a frequent speaker and writer on democracy, race, racism in the Jewish community, Jewish community diversity, and leadership. Green is Zooming into the panel from Columbia, South Carolina.

She initially speaks on the question: America is experiencing a period of unprecedented white nationalism, anti-Semitism and authoritarianism and in many ways, Jews of color are experiencing the worst of both worlds. In what way can the Jewish community pivot to protect their own and proactively fight for change in a democratic society?

A supporter of US President Donald Trump displays a Confederate flag next to Black Lives Matter Plaza as supporters from around the country rally in the US Capitol to protest the upcoming electoral college certification of Joe Biden as president in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. (Eric Baradat/AFP)

Our final panelist is Rabbi Shais Rishon, also known as MaNishtana. Rishon is an author, writer, educator, playwright, rabbi, and public speaker, whose work on racial and religious identity and culture – and how their intersections manifest in America – faces prejudice, bias, and ignorance head-on, asking the questions about humanity, race, religion, and social injustice that we all have (and maybe are afraid to talk about).

In February 2018, Rishon earned his first Orthodox rabbinical ordination. He lives in New York with his family, but is joining us from San Diego.

He begins his remarks addressing the question: What are the challenges (if any) you experience in celebrating Black History Month from an American Jewish perspective?

The Times of Israel podcasts are available for download on iTunesTuneIn, Pocket CastsStitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

Check out last week’s Times Will Tell Podcast here:

This panel conversation was originally aired as part of our ongoing Behind the Headlines video series for Times of Israel Community members. It’s not too late to join ToI Community now and access this week’s episode, along with past episodes and the rest of our wide-ranging library of exclusive content.

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