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Spectacles of History and A New Prescription for the Future

Dori Frumin Kirshner

Written by Dori Frumin Kirshner, Executive Director, Matan
Originally published in The New York Jewish Week, Friday, July 27, 2012

On Jan. 20, 2009 our 4-year-old daughter forced my husband and me to retrofit spectacles of prejudice.

What do I mean by that? That was the day on which Barack Obama was sworn into office, and as my husband and I watched the festivities unfold on television, Evie could not stop asking why so many people, especially those of color, were crying. She pushed, “Why are they sad, Mommy?” “Isn’t this a happy day? They get to see the president.”

I attempted to describe how not long ago, in America, there were people who believed that a black person could not be president. I added that these people who were crying were told that message all of their lives, yet now they were watching history change. She looked at me puzzled; the past was incomprehensible to her innocent mind.

Embarrassingly, within the context of our own Jewish community, there are still archaic projections placed upon people that violate basic civil rights. As recently as last week, many of us read an account of a family struggling with issues of inclusion within a Jewish summer camp. (Keep reading…)

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