Seeing the Preciousness of Each Person
Many Jews (even those who come from very assimilated or unaffiliated Jewish homes) received an early message that their individual personhood was less important than being part of a "people". One thing that has been so profound about R.C. family work for many Jews in R.C. has been the emphasis (initially modeled so powerfully by Tim) of focusing on the unique humanness and goodness of every child. Activities in R.C. family work that have been helpful contradictions to Jewish internalized oppression are the emphasis on play, on sports and physical activity, on closeness, on "hanging out" time without rigid organized schedules, and on wrestling and pillow fights. An even greater contradiction has been the single idea that every human is precious (not because he or she adds to the group, does good work, adds to the potential survival of the people, etc.) but simply because he or she is human and exists. I cannot say enough what an important contradiction this has been to Jewish internalized oppression. The very core of Jewish oppression is that Jews must prove their right to exist--over and over again. It is never a given right. And the very essence of R.C. family work contradicts this.
Ruah Hadashah No. 8, Page 67
Jewish oppression and "mental health" oppression intertwine around feeling like there's something wrong with us. There is really nothing wrong with us. There are many reasons why Jews may feel there is something wrong with us, including:
Ruah Hadashah No. 9, Page 40
Ruah Hadashah No. 10, Page 22.
Blacks and Jews are longing to have an authentic relationship with one another... We deeply need and want each other, and that's all that matters. And ultimately, it is in the building of one-on-one relationships that we find each other... If one-on-one relationship building is so central to creating an enduring black-Jewish coalition, why is this work so often down-played. Is it because we see relationship building as soft or weak or female? We must face that we have been conditioned by sexism to see relationship building as not powerful enough, not serious enough, not political enough. However, in reality, forging authentic relationships is the only reliable way to build an enduring black-Jewish alliance. If these relationships are to last, we must ask the right questions, learn to trust each other where we can't trust, face honestly our own racism and anti-Semitism, and defy the voices that pit us against each other by not denying what causes each other pain.
Ruah Hadashah No. 10, pp 66-67
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