Exploring Race in Contemporary Judaism

On October 6, 2008, The Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought at Temple University held its Second Annual Symposium on Race and Judaism in the Paley Library Lecture Hall. The program was entitled Exploring Race in Contemporary Judaism: A Symposium on Jewish Diversity [click here for PDF of flyer].

Before the symposium began, Professor Lewis Gordon, director of The Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought, sat down with three of the presenters, Edith Bruder, Avishai Mekonen, and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen to discuss their work. Edith Bruder has written a book entitled The Black Jews of Africa: History, Religion, Identity and her symposium presentation was entitled “African Judaism: Ancient Myths and Modern Phenomena”. Avishai Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen screened and discussed their work-in-progress documentary, 400 Miles to Freedom, a “film [which] explores racial and ethnic diversity in Judaism through the story of Avishai Mekonen, whose disappearance in Sudan as a boy launches a quest that leads him to other African, Asian and Latino Jews in Israel and in the U.S.” John L. Jackson, who also presented at the symposium (“The Bodied Politic: Ethnobiology, Anti-Religiosity and the Reckoning of Black Hebrewism”) was not present for this recording (but we hope to record an interview with him at a later date).

 (mp3, 22 MB).

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