Black and Jewish: A Talk Series


Monday, April 19, 2021, 4:00pm to 5:30pm


Online via Zoom
Rebecca Ginsburg
Tamar Manasseh
Maayan Zik
Elizabeth Hinton (Moderator)

Part three of the Black & Jewish talk series 

Registration Link
The Center for Jewish Studies and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research are pleased to announce a talk series on the intersection of Black and Jewish identities in American culture, politics, and religious life. The lives and experiences of those who identify as Black and Jewish have received little scholarly attention despite their growing prominence in current conversations around race and religion in the US and outsized contributions to Jewish and American culture. This talk series aims to amplify Black and Jewish voices and to foster new conversations around the challenges and prospects of Black diversity and Jewish diversity.

Rebecca Ginsburg is a co-founder and current director of the Education Justice Project (EJP), a unit of the University of Illinois. EJP is a comprehensive college-in-prison program that brings together scholars, students, and teachers dedicated to the vision of a more just and humane world. Through its educational programs, events, outreach, and advocacy, EJP supports critical awareness of incarceration and reentry, with special focus on the responsibility of institutions of higher education to engage systems-involved individuals during and after incarceration. Hundreds of University of Illinois faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and staff, community members, and incarcerated scholars have been involved in EJP’s initiatives since it was formed 12 years ago.

Rebecca received her Bachelors degree in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, her JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and a PhD in Architectural History from the University of California at Berkeley. It was while she was a graduate student at Berkeley that she first became involved in prison education.

Her most recent book is an edited collection called Critical Perspectives on Teaching in Prison (Routledge 2019). She is currently working on a prison abolition reader (Lynne Rienner 2022). Rebecca has been a resident of Urbana-Champaign for 16 years. She shares a home with her husband, William Sullivan, and daughters Anna (14) and Isabella (10). It is her great pride that her children don’t find anything unusual about the fact that she teaches in a prison.

Tamar Manasseh is the Founder and President of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK). Following the shooting death of Lucille Barnes in 2015, Tamar Manasseh, a mother of 2 who grew up in Englewood and now lives in Bronzeville, rallied several other mothers and established MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings). In the summer of 2015, Manasseh and other parents in the community took to their local corner daily to let everyone know that they're watching.

MASK's purpose is to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. MASK's primary mission is to build stronger communities through a focus on violence prevention, food insecurity, and housing. Additionally, MASK partners to ensure that community members have access to necessary city services, opportunities for education & professional skills growth, and economic development.

Manasseh has also helped launch MASK initiatives in other Chicago neighborhoods, as well as cities throughout the nation, including Evansville, Indiana, Staten Island, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee. 

Maayan Zik, an Orthodox Jewish Jamaican-American, is a social activist who co-organized the Tahalucha For Social Justice which called on Orthodox/Chabad Jews in Crown Heights to march against police violence in June 2020. Since then, she has co-founded organizations such as Ker a Velt and Kamochah which further her work in social justice and racial equity. She has since been featured in Vogue Magazine, the Washington Post, The Jewish Press, and more.

Elizabeth Hinton is a historian of American inequality who is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on policing and mass incarceration. Hinton’s past and current scholarship provides a deeper grasp of the persistence of poverty, urban violence, and racial inequality in the United States. She is Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Yale University and Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the author of the award-winning book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America and the forthcoming America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, which will be released in May. Hinton's articles and op-eds can be found in the pages of The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Boston Review, and Time.

Co-sponsored by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and the Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University