'It’s Never Been Uncomplicated for Me:' a Black-Jewish Voice for Hope

There has long been a very stale debate in the Jewish community over how to partner with Black America for change.

One side, let’s call them Farrakhan Jews, is leery of giving whole-hearted support to movements and activists whom they fear harbor anti-Semitic or anti-Israel views. The other side, let’s call them Heschel Jews, doesn’t ignore these misgivings but engages with Black leaders and movements in spite of them.

I’m neither a Farrakhan Jew nor a Heschel Jew. I’ve never found either side very satisfying. I can’t willfully ignore when people attack the communities I care about. But I also can’t turn my back on the single most important struggle in American life, because my Jewish values are bound up in it.

That’s why I was so relieved to find Ian Solomon.

Shortly after the killing of George Floyd, I followed a Twitter link to an essay posted on Medium titled, “Today, again, I am overwhelmed by grief and rage.”

The author was Solomon, dean of the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and – Twitter told me — both Black and Jewish.