Blacks, Jews, and Jewish identity
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Throughout the twentieth century in the US, Jews have been disproportionately involved in promoting the welfare of black people. Though this involvement can be largely explained by the historical progressiveness of Jews, the moral precepts of Judaism, and demographic factors pertaining to Jews, it should also be seen as a function of contemporary Jewish American assimilation issues. Many Jews who were active in the civil rights movement expressed dismay and confusion about their Jewish identity, and fulfilled their desire for a spiritually and ideologically meaningful community by fighting for the rights of another ethnic group--African Americans. Following the rift between blacks and Jews at the end of the 1960s, many Jewish civil rights activist were forced to restructure their feelings about black equality and Jewish identity. The ways in which activists did so reaffirms the thesis that pro-black activism is of emotional--not purely political-- relevance to Jews, and is deeply intertwined with issues of Jewish identity.
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