THE BLACK JEWS OF HARLEM by Howard Brotz

THE BLACK JEWS OF HARLEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title is perhaps more than slightly misleading; the subtitle, ""A Quest For Pride and Community"" shows the underlying purpose here somewhat more clearly: After a brief, extremely tantalizing glimpse of the practices of ""Rabbi"" Wentworth Matthew's Commandment Keepers Congregation, a small group in Harlem and Brooklyn who all themselves ""Ethiopian Hebrews"" and who strive to emulate the traditional Orthodox Jew, Mr. Brotz immediately proceeds to an interesting, if sketchy, analysis of what he considers the central dilemma for Negroes today. The horns of this dilemma he terms ""accommodation"" and ""protest""; the former seeks to resign the Negro to segregation by finding him cultural values he can call his own, the latter seeks to break down all barriers to complete identity with the white world. Black Jews, as well as Black Muslims and Black Coptics, thus belong, roughly speaking, to the accommodating type of movement, in that they try to manufacture or appropriate an identity for themselves which can give them a measure of-self-respect. It is a thesis capable of providing some valuable insights into one of America's largest current problems, but the reader might very well wish Mr. Brotz had gone more deeply into the fascinating details of his main example.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1964
Publisher: Macmillan-Free Press