Transition 105 is teeming with thorny questions about being black in a global context. Even the “Black-Jewish Question,” traditionally an American obsession, gains complexity when it involves a half-Kenyan president, Israel, or Igbo Jews celebrating Hanukkah in Abuja. Three writers explore three different intersections of the tribe and the people. And the issue follows several more journeys through the Diaspora in search of black meaning. A review of the new biography of Marcus Garvey, transatlantic hero, celebrates ties between Africa and the Americas, just as Bayo Holsey questions Wole Soyinka’s reading of Africa’s role in the slave trade. And amid these abstract tides of history, pushing back and forth, individuals are caught in small eddies: an African American anthropologist visits Brazil and has trouble getting back home; an American daughter of South African parents floats like a ghost between different cultures of death; a black writer can’t quite find home in Harlem. With the idea of home in transition, at least all these ideas find a home in Transition.
Notes from the Black-Jewish Monologue
Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel seemed to promise a powerful new Black-Jewish coalition. Daniel Itzkovitz recruits a whole team of specialists—Sarah Silverman, Al Sharpton, and his father-in-law, for starters—to explain how and why times have changed since the civil rights era,
and why many Jews still long for the dream team.