Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism
This volume explores the myriad ways in which African American religions have encountered Jewish traditions, beliefs, and spaces. In contrast to previous works, which have typically focused on the social and political relationship between blacks and Jews, Black Zion places religion at the center of its discussion, thereby illuminating a critically important but little explored aspect of black-Jewish relations in America. The essays gathered here examine groups such as the Nation of Islam and the Hebrew Israelites, individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Joshua Heschel, and topics such as the transformation of synagogue space into African American churches and the symbolic role of the Jew in the Haitian religious imagination. This collection draws on sacred texts, interviews, and ethnographic and archival research to discuss the shared elements in black and Jewish sacred life, as well as the development and elaboration of new religious identities by African Americans.
Featuring contributions from a group of renowned scholars and writers, this groundbreaking volume reveals a great deal about both African American religions and the meaning of Judaism in the contemporary world. It is essential reading for students of religion, history, cultural studies, black studies, and American studies.