In the Image of God: Celebrating the Alliance Between Black America, Jews and Israel was hosted at the DuSable Museum of African American History last month by The Shiloh Institute and The Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. The event, which was co-chaired by Congressman Danny Davis, State Senator Donne Trotter and former DuSable Museum director Dr. Carol Adams, was a celebration of the long-time alliance between the Black and Jewish communities.
The keynote address by former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. spoke eloquently to both the common ground and the challenges found within this unique brotherhood. The Consul General to Israel from the Midwest, Yinam Cohen, praised the importance of this alliance and highlighted the priority of the current Israeli coalition government to share and celebrate the diversity of the people of Israel. Additionally, the evening paid tribute to the life and legacy of Prince Asiel Ben Israel of the Original Hebrew Community of Jerusalem.
Prince Asiel, a leader in both the Black and Jewish communities, has championed a message of peace and unity in Chicago, America, Israel, Africa and throughout the world for more than fifty years. After making aliyah in the 1970’s, four generations of his offspring currently reside in the Holy Land. Bruce Rosenstock, a professor in the departments of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose scholarly work includes extensive research on the Hebrews, with particular interest in the African American community, spoke to the significance of the Black-Jewish relationship and Israel. Young leaders from the Shiloh Institute shared from their personal pilgrimages to Israel and the impact on their lives. Prince Asiel’s personal journey to Israel through Liberia reads like a biblical saga. The Shiloh Institute, an African American leadership development organization that connects Africa-Israel-and Black America is currently producing the documentary on this fascinating story in Black history.