Shine a Light on Antisemitism
By David Glass
January 14, 2022
By Adar Rubin, Israel Associate, JCRC/AJC
(Photo left to right: Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Reverend Ken Flowers, Greater New Mt Moriah, Luke Moon, Philos Project, Adar Rubin, Ashira Solomon.)
“I am here today as a proud supporter of the great State of Israel and my Jewish brothers and sisters. Also, I am here to stand and to support my African American brothers and sisters, and to let everyone know that we will continue to fight against intolerance and injustice in the world — that we will march on until victory is won.”
With these opening remarks from Reverend Kenneth James Flowers, Leadership at Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and Co-Director of the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity, the Detroit metropolitan community gathered on Sunday, December 5th to Shine a Light on Antisemitism.
Members of the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee, Philos Project, and Black Empowerment Council strategized together to create impact as a part of a national Jewish Federations of Noth America initiative focused on bringing varying cultural groups together to discuss the issue of antisemitism.
The day of events began with an interfaith service at Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, under the esteemed direction of Reverend Kenneth James Flowers. Reverend Flowers spoke about the importance of preserving and cultivating interfaith relationships, the need for condemning antisemitism and hate, no matter the source of manifestation, and highlighted the role both Israel and the Jewish community played in the African American community in Detroit during his upbringing.
Following the service, congregants at the church were invited to attend an exquisite interfaith luncheon at the St. Regis Hotel with members of the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity, the Philos Project, the Detroit Roundtable for Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, and other Shine A Light partners.
Executive Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity member, Jennifer Lewis stressed the importance of unity among the Black and Jewish communities.
“It is so important that the Black and Jewish community stand up for one another, that we fight racism and antisemitism together.”
A proclamation against antisemitism was presented at the luncheon, signed by Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor, Garlin Gilchrist.
As nightfall approached, a public menorah lighting was hosted by Jewish Ferndale under the direction of Rabbi Hershel and Chana Finman. Jewish Ferndale regularly hosts classes for the community and encourages social and environmental responsibility, as evident by the opportunity for guests to create upcycled tzedakah (charity) boxes at the event. Shine A Light partners stood together as the last candle was lit on the menorah, illuminating the dark sky and reminding us all to be a light to the world in dark times.