Black-Jewish Alliance film series
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Black-Jewish Alliance film series

“Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent” (Photo courtesy JCC)
“Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent” (Photo courtesy JCC)

To honor of Black History Month, the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains streams three films focusing on the Black-Jewish partnership for social justice. These true stories illuminate the Jewish/Black alliances that helped shape the civil rights movement.

“As a community agency, we must use our voice to take a stand against racism, discrimination, and social injustices,” Beth Mitchell, the JCC’s director of inclusion and diversity, said. “To move our nation forward, we have an obligation to educate ourselves and others to be allies, and to advocate for our friends and neighbors in the African American community.”

The series begins on Saturday, January 23, with “Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent”; it will stream through January 25. Rabbi Prinz, as the leader of Temple B’nai Abraham — then in Newark, now in Livingston — became a leader of the civil rights movement and worked to organize the 1963 March on Washington, declaring, “Bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.”

“They Ain’t Ready for Me,” streams from January 30 to February 1. Filmmaker Brad Rothschild, a Westfield native, introduces Tamar Manasseh, the inspiring young Black rabbinical student who is leading the fight against killings of young black girls and boys on the South Side of Chicago. The JCC will host an interactive Zoom with Ms. Manasseh on Tuesday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m.

The series concludes with “Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance,” streaming February 6 to 8. This film explores the often-forgotten story of the coalition and friendship between the Jewish and African-American communities during the civil rights movement and the current efforts to invigorate this vital relationship. A Zoom conversation with Rabbi Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains and Leland McGee of Social Justice Matters will follow on Wednesday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m.

This film series is presented in partnership with Social Justice Matters Inc., Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains, Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains, and the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. It is made possible by funds from the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Registration is required; it’s available at jccnj.org. A link to each film and Zoom program will be emailed after registration. For more information, email atrzucker@jccnj.org, call (908) 889-8800, ext. 253, or go to jccnj.org.

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