For Tobin, whose son is a young black man living in America, it’s also a very personal issue. “My privilege does not protect him,” she said.
This is an exciting time for global Judaism and its growth deserves to be taken seriously.
Dealing with the complexity of race means acknowledging difficult realities and Jewish tradition teaches us to lean into rather than shy away from complexity.
They say that genius is often only revealed after death. The late Jewish demographer, Dr. Gary A. Tobin, was widely respected during life, however some of his most important insights are just beginning to be realized.
It may be harmless curiosity but the consequences of treating those we perceive as “different’ with suspicion can be damaging, not just to the individual but to the community as a whole.
It is time we engage in an honest discussion about racial and ethnic diversity in the Jewish community, as well as the broader issue of multi-layered identities among all peoples.
We are at a crossroads. Judaism is changing. Jewish life is changing. We have choices to make. Will we fearfully cling to an unsustainable vision of the past or will we welcome change and diversity?
Our historical place in the world as a marginalized people has left us feeling connected to people of color, but generally speaking does not seem to have left people of color feeling connected to us in the same way.