Making Klal Yisrael Count: The Difficulties of Defining Black Jewish Communities

By Janice Fernheimer

Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), Fall 2011

In November 2008, I gave a presentation on my research about Black Jews and was asked a question that I've continued to think about ever since. The presentation was on Hatzaad Harishon, a multiracial nonprofit organization that valued klal Yisrael (Jewish peoplehood) and worked to gain greater recognition of and legitimacy for Black Jews in New York City and the surrounding areas from 1964-1972. The question was simple enough: "How many Black Jews are there?" In trying to offer an answer, however, I brushed up against a host of issues that the term Black Jew raisesâ€"for Jewish peoplehood, for definitional claims, and for what Adam Newton terms "blackjewishrelations." In order to answer the question, one first has to define who Black Jews are and that, like any question of Jewish identity, is no simple task.

Topic: Race, Jewish Identification, Black Jews, Judaic Studies, Data, Jewish Studies, Religion, Inclusion, Diversity

Name of Publication: AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies

Editor: Bunzl, Matti , Havrelock, Rachel

Volume/Issue: Fall 2011

Page Number(s): 46-48

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Identifier: ISSN 1529-6423

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Fernheimer, Janice. Making Klal Yisrael Count: The Difficulties of Defining Black Jewish Communities. AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies. Association for Jewish Studies (AJS). Fall 2011: 46-48. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=13603


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