Black HYPHEN!! Jewish, Part II: Rabbi Enan Francis Responds!

Previously on “Black HYPHEN Jewish”…:

As you might’ve recalled, about a month ago, I, MaNishtana, posted a blog giving my commentary on an interview published by the New Jersey Jewish News on Rabbi Enan Francis.

It was reposted several times over across Facebook and sparked many many comments, discussions, and dialogues over the past month, both on Facebook and here on MaNishtana.net.  It was a piece I was proud of, stand by, and not at all regretful for.

And then the plot thickened.

See, last night, as I was moderating this here site, I was notified that a new member had joined.  That new member was none other than…Rabbi Enan Francis.  Undoubtedly, news of the blog had reached his ears, so presumably, he stopped on by to see what all the hubbub was about.

Not an hour later, I received a second notification, this time of a new user blog that was awaiting approval.  It, too, was from Rabbi Francis:

Dear MaNishtana,

I have always been a fan of your analytical responses and have often found your answers anchored firmly in logic; therefore I would like to make four comments in response to your criticism.

1) In reflection to my comment about whether racism exists in the context of Judaism you have made a strong and acceptable case. I do not suffer from any form hubris that precludes me from admitting when I’ve been bested and insulting to the real experiences of those marginalized by our brethren. Considering that the Jewish people are highly assimilated in what our Rabbis of saintly memory, call the mentality of exile, referring to the acculturation of our people to secular culture; to say that racism doesn’t exist would logically be akin to stating that racism whether de`jure or de`facto didn’t exist globally when it certainly does. I would even go on further to say that it quite probable that my words were shaped by those who struggled to give me that security to succeed in my social context.

2) Regarding my “penchant” for recasting my lineage based on the testimony of someone whom you claim has spoken to me: I find that to be an unsubstantiated attack which only sensationalized what I thought was a very honest and supported critique of the article.

3) If you ever see me on the street kindly say hello and introduce your self.

4) I would like to invite you to my house for Shabbos to continue this conversation and give at least an equal amount of attention to the powers of our Neshoma’s, which I hope will always be the dominant feature in our identity.

Once again I apologies to anyone offended.

After reading, at first I was going to relegate this to a Facebook note or something.  But I decided it was unfair to sweep this post under the rug, as it were.  I believe in dialogues not one-sided stories, nor do I believe in manipulating data and events to come out being perceived as “the winner”.  It was only right–it was only proper–that i address this response and my reprisal to it in just as public a forum as I proclaimed my critique.

And so now, the conclusion of “Black HYPHEN Jewish”…:

1) In reflection to my comment about whether racism exists in the context of Judaism you have made a strong and acceptable case. I do not suffer from any form hubris that precludes me from admitting when I’ve been bested and insulting to the real experiences of those marginalized by our brethren. Considering that the Jewish people are highly assimilated in what our Rabbis of saintly memory, call the mentality of exile, referring to the acculturation of our people to secular culture; to say that racism doesn’t exist would logically be akin to stating that racism whether de`jure or de`facto didn’t exist globally when it certainly does. I would even go on further to say that it quite probable that my words were shaped by those who struggled to give me that security to succeed in my social context.

To this, I honestly have no response.  None is needed.  In fact, I thank you, Rabbi, for your ability to recognize cogent arguments and your capacity to accept stances which contradict your own without fear of mocking, taunting or gloating.  It is a fine quality for a Rosh Yeshiva to have, especially in a world where Rosh Yeshivas like this exist.  Your cognizance of the very real situation which exists for Jews of Color is greatly appreciated.

2) Regarding my “penchant” for recasting my lineage based on the testimony of someone whom you claim has spoken to me: I find that to be an unsubstantiated attack which only sensationalized what I thought was a very honest and supported critique of the article.

3) If you ever see me on the street kindly say hello and introduce your self.

4) I would like to invite you to my house for Shabbos to continue this conversation and give at least an equal amount of attention to the powers of our Neshoma’s, which I hope will always be the dominant feature in out identity.

As for these last comments, whether my statements were an “unsubstantiated sensational attack” is something we can argue about until the cows come home.  However, such a tedious he said/she said tete a tete would prove petty and unproductive and completely dismissive of the reconciliatory tone present in your response and the overall general Ahavat Yisrael we are both trying to achieve. I am perfectly content to dismiss any past that may or may not exist between us and start completely anew.  I greatly look forward to an opportunity to spend Shabbat with you, and to reintroduce ourselves to one another.

More importantly, I enjoy the idea that there is now an Orthodox Rabbi here at MaNishtana’s Musings who will now be able to input his opinion on things.  And secondly, I’m glad this exchange happened, because maybe some people have forgotten, but dialogue like THIS is precisely why I blog.

I’m not trying to “win” anything or just arbitrarily tear people down or “prove” them “wrong”.

There IS a point to what I do.  And this is it.

manishtanasignoff

MaNishtana@manishtana.net

twitter.com/MaNishtana

Order Thoughts From A Unicorn: 100% Black. 100% Jewish. 0% Safe.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s