No Shame Necessary
In the July 2 Jewish Exponent, Sid Schwarz (“I’ve Been a Rabbi Fighting Racial Injustice for Decades, But I Have Not Done Enough”) states that, although he has been engaged in the fight against racial injustice for most of his life, he is ashamed that “I did not cash in my political capital for Black Americans.” It is not clear what this political capital is supposed to be.
The rabbi also laments the fact that “even as I became aware of how America has stacked the deck against Black Americans, [confronting systemic racism] has never been my top priority.” Well rabbi, it shouldn’t be.
Of course, as a religious leader, much of your work needs to involve promoting human rights and social justice, attacking bigotry in all of its ugly forms. But as a Jewish religious leader, your top priority should be to lend your considerable influence to the national movement attacking rampant anti-Semitism.
According to ADL statistics, anti-Semitic incidents, including assaults, have increased steadily over most years of the last decade. The Jewish community needs you and other activists more than ever. I’m confident that furthering the cause of racial equality will always be part of your agenda. You needn’t feel ashamed, because a passionate person as yourself will never feel that he/she has done enough. Just keep in mind, proudly, that countless numbers of your fellow Jews throughout our nation’s history have been at the forefront of many movements furthering the cause of human rights, social justice and racial equality, and right now they are building upon and enhancing your efforts to make this a better world.
Jack Butler | Philadelphia
Jackson Should Learn History
Through no fault of his own, apparently DeSean Jackson (“The Education of DeSean Jackson,” July 16) does not know that: the co-founder of the NAACP was Jewish, 90% of the lawyers who ventured south to help in the civil rights movement were Jewish, Jewish activists were beaten and jailed supporting Black protestors, two New York Jewish activists, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, were murdered trying to register voters, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched arm-in-arm with Martin Luther King Jr. Judaism teaches respect for the fundamental rights of all people and the Jewish community has stood with the Black community over the years like no other.
While Jackson never learned these historical facts, he must take responsibility for his hurtful, untrue and divisive anti-Semitic postings. He also has the responsibility to properly educate himself and others and to find other ways to make amends. That is the least he can do.
Tom Sexton | Philadelphia