Are you all ready for the Toronto Jewish Film Festival? I have to admit that I hadn't heard of it either, but this is the 28th year, and it's been on all week with what look to be some fascinating pictures. Tomorrow and Monday the festival will be showing a documentary by Sheri Rogers called Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance. I have seen photos of Jewish leaders taking part in civil rights marches and events but I wasn't really aware of the extent of the connection. It goes back to the early years of the 20th century, long before the Civil Rights movement of the 1950's and 60's.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi and one of the great Jewish philosophers and theologians of the 20th century.strongly supported respectful dialogue between religions. He appreciated the common struggle of Jews and Blacks as marginalized and persecuted peoples. The biblical stories of slavery and exodus spoke to both groups in American society. Heschel once offered that "it was easier for the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea than for a Negro to cross certain university campuses."
Martin Luther King Jr. & Abraham Joshua Heschel (far right)Heschel was a participant in the Selma to Montgomery March, accompanying Martin Luther King and John Lewis. It's not surprised that MLK called Heschel "a truly great prophet."
This film really intrigues me, and if I don't see it during the next two days (virtually),I hope to in the near future. From the standpoints of learning more about Jewish/Christian dialogue,and of the courage demonstrated by people of faith during the Civil Rights movement, this doc will be illuminating.