Last year the Jewish News, a Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner, published a piece about Jews being part of Detroit’s white flight.
But rather than fighting or hassling black residents moving into Jewish neighborhoods, Jews just left. Still, some of the Jewish-owned businesses stayed behind, serving the new residents.
Pastor Aramis Hinds of Breakers Covenant Church International and Rabbi Ariana Silverman of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue joined Stateside today to discuss how the relationship between Jews and African Americans evolved during that period of history. They also discussed how it continues to evolve today.
Listen to the full conversation above, or read a sneak peak below.
SILVERMAN: “It is certainly true that as Jews migrated to northwest suburbs, a lot of them continued to work in the city.
"And Jews, I think, had a particular sensitivity because they, of course, were subject to redlining and housing restrictions previously as well. So [they had] a certain understanding of that dynamic, and continued to feel a certain connection and dedication to the city of Detroit and to its residents.
"So I think on some level, the relationship among the Jewish community and the communities of color has continued. The challenge has been that it has grown farther and farther apart in other ways over time.”
HINDS: "I would add that the similarities between the Jewish and the black community, African American community – it centers in similar struggles that reflect from past pains and sufferings, and that was something that we had in common... It almost put us at odds with society, if I can put it that way, and it drew us together.
"But it seems, as time progressed, it’s almost as if the color of skin it... became an enemy, to a certain extent, to the progression of African Americans. And in a way, many in the Jewish community were able to kind of slide into this white classism."
Pastor Aramis Hinds and Rabbi Ariana Silverman will hold a community conversation after a performance of Come My Beloved at the bethel Community Transformation Center on Sunday, Dec. 17. Click here to learn more.
You can also listen to our conversation with playwright and director of Come My Beloved here.
Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.