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Jewish And Black Pride

Jewish And Black Pride

Regarding “Crossing The Sambatyon” (March 16), professor Ephraim Isaac, speaking of the treatment of Ethiopian Jews, said, “this is not a racial issue, it is one of ignorance.”

Unfortunately your article left out the word “not,” changing the statement’s meaning.

We organized the event to show support to members of our community in Israel who are directly affected by segregation in housing, education and employment. We made it clear that we do not see this as a systemic problem — these are not Israeli institutionalized policies — and yet Ethiopians as well as other groups are nonetheless grappling with these incidents daily on a very real level.

My community and I are without a shred of a doubt extremely appreciative to Israel, to the American Jews and to all others who made these historic events possible, and have voiced this sincere and deeply felt feeling innumerable times throughout our lives.  My own life was saved, and I am forever grateful. But Jonathan Mark fails to see that two feelings or thoughts can coexist. Yes, we are appreciative, and yes, we wish to also help our families and brethren have equal access to education, housing and jobs.     

Then there is the perplexing focus on what New York neighborhood Ethiopian Jews live in, noting that some live in Harlem and some have married non-Jews. Or is the horror that some married African Americans? Mark sets up a false choice that we must be making, between our Jewish identity and our black identity. We do not recognize that false choice. We choose both.


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