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Excerpts from the RC journal RUAH HADASHAH

Jewish Parents and Children

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.

Cherie Brown
Ruah Hadashah No. 8, Page 67


Jews and "Mental Health"

Key Issues

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:

  • We don't fit in because we are Orthodox or Hasidic or otherwise visibly different in our dress or customs.
  • Women's and men's roles in Judaism are different than they are in the Gentile culture.
  • Jewish cultures often allow more display of emotion than many Gentile cultures.
  • This perception that there is something wrong with us makes us especially vulnerable to "mental health" oppression.
  • Jews are set up to be both agents and targets of "mental health" system oppression.

Janet Foner
Ruah Hadashah No. 9, Page 40

A Program for Working-class Jewish Liberation

  • Love ourselves and our families unconditionally. Especially take care of ourselves and take complete pride in all the roles we play in society.
  • Discharge internalized Jewish oppression- every way we feel separated from, mistrustful of, victimized by, better than other people, and every way we feel self-disgust, question our right to exist, feel less than fully Jewish, and play that out on other Jews.
  • Discharge internalized classism--every way we feel inferior, superior, unintelligent, competitive, ashamed, hopeless, and unimportant, and every way we feel different than or not fully working class, or apart from other working-class people.
  • Seek out the stories and history of working-class Jews from around the world.
  • Build deep connections with non-Jewish working-class people.
  • For white Jews, discharge white racism and build deep connections with people of color. For Jews of color, discharge internalized racism and build deep connections with all people of color.
  • Put ourselves at the center of Jewish Liberation and make ourselves fully visible. This means speaking out as Jews about anti-Jewish oppression at every opportunity.
  • Put ourselves at the center of the complete transformation of society. This means speaking out for the elimination of classism and the liberation of all people.

Dvora Slavin
Ruah Hadashah No. 10, Page 22.


Blacks and Jews: The Courage to Create Authentic Relationships

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.

Cherie Brown
Ruah Hadashah No. 10, pp 66-67


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00