Black lives do matter to Jews
In “Playwright Jennie Berman Eng goes in search of an Authentic Holocaust movie” (Arts & Culture, Aug. 12), Eng laments an alleged lack of interest by the Jewish community in the Black Lives Matter movement and our supposed complacency in the face of the injustices heaped upon African Americans. She speculates that’s because the Holocaust happened so long ago.
My observations of the American Jewish community conflict sharply with hers. One can hardly overlook the continued, powerful support that Reform Jews give to African American rights and concerns through the Religious Action Center, or the statistical over-representation by Jews on boards and among officers and employees of all generations in organizations devoted to greater social and legal justice for Blacks and everyone. Nor have we Jews absented ourselves from Black Lives Matter demonstrations and demands for justice, though we are disproportionately older and therefore less able to march and shout, especially in the midst of the pandemic.
Moreover, I have heard and read innumerable rabbis’ divrei Torah drawing on our sacred texts to support African American demands for justice. It’s hardly surprising that countless Jews have given and increased their donations to Black and other organizations that respond to the needs and demands of our African American neighbors. I wish your reporter had challenged Ms. Eng to provide a factual basis for her critique of our people.
RABBI GEORGE B. DRIESEN
“Shear Kindness” (Aug. 20) contained several inaccuracies about the local hair drive for Zichron Menachem. The following corrects the errors:
In addition to Lag B’Omer, traditional Jews are permitted to cut their hair immediately following Shavuot, not only the Tuesday after, as the article stated. Style Salon reopened after Shavuot to cut donated hair.
Nancy Mehlman had her hair cut with her granddaughter while both were on FaceTime. The article said her daughter and her granddaughter had their hair cut together on FaceTime.
Since the program’s inception, all hair has been braided and then cut, not collected in bowls as the article stated.