I have a lot of unpacking to do – mental unpacking – after a Jewish event that I attended tonight. Of the 14 people who came, 8 were black men ranging from 40-70 years old who are members of the Israelites or Black Hebrews.
We went in a circle, one by one, and explained how we came to be in this room and identify as Jews.
At the end of the night, standing on the sidewalk, I admitted to some of my friends, “that is the first time [as an adult] I have sat in a room with so many black men and talked with them. It’s embarassing, but true.”
Chicago is so segregated, but I’m always *around* African Americans. On the train, in shops, at bars… There’s Julius who owns St. Andrews, Terry from Third Coast Comics, Alverne who worked with me at the ice cream parlor… but I’m never sitting in a room having an intentional conversation about our lives. Maybe one person here or there, but I have never sat in a circle mostly made of older black men and talked about their lives.
I don’t have much more to say than that right now other than, “here’s this thing that happened. It was lovely.”