I don’t doubt many blacks find Jewish life exhausting. Many white converts do as well. Many white born Jews do as well, including FFBs (frum from birth aka Orthodox for life). The average Ashkenazi IQ is around 110, so unless you make or exceed that threshold, you’re going to have a hard time in Jewish life. Many Mizrahim, Sephardim and Ashkenazim with IQs over 100 (let alone those below that number) find Ashkenazi Jewish life exhausting. It’s a competitive way of life with a lot of demands.
Black Jews Are Being Chased Out Of the Jewish Community By Racism. Here Are Their Stories.
Every person that I interviewed for this article spoke of being exhausted of existing in white Jewish spaces. They told me how that exhaustion greatly altered their participation in Jewish community and their own Jewish identities. They spoke of feeling drained, mentally scarred, and depressed when they leave synagogues.
People cannot thrive in communities that intrinsically sees them as outsiders. So they leave.
I, too, am struggling with anti-black racism in the Jewish community, struggling to stay part of a community that all too often I feel doesn’t want me. Many times, I’ve considered giving up. Conducting these interviews was in a way validating, showing me I wasn’t alone in my experiences or feelings.
Validating — and tragic.
One of the reasons I love black gospel music so much is that I can think of no holier sound that the voices of black folks rising in unison. And in having these interviews, I got the privilege of listening to a chorus of black voices telling me their stories about being Jewish in spaces that do not want or respect black people.