Season 1, Episode 7
In Episode 7, presented in collaboration with Lilith magazine, we share performed readings from and explore issues intersecting with a piece of writing published in Lilith in 2020 titled “Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives.” The work takes a liturgical poem which speaks about the nature of existence and is central to the Jewish High Holidays and builds upon it, reimagining it to speak about the killing of Black people in the U.S.
Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman, the founder and director of imani strategies and author of the piece, talks about the work itself while also discussing related historical and societal considerations.
Read the transcription for "Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives"
Hosted by Aaron Henne
Scholarship provided by the work's author, Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman
Edited by Mark McClain Wilson
Story editing by Aaron Henne with Julie A. Lockhart
Featuring the voices of Cassandra Blair, Joshua Wolf Coleman, Julie A. Lockhart, Rebecca Rasmussen, Clay Steakley, Diana Tanaka, Jonathan C.K. Williams, and Mark McClain Wilson
Theme music composed by Michael Skloff and produced by Sam K.S.
Additional thanks to Kellie Davis for her contributions to this episode.
Transcription by Dylan Southard
"Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives" Learning Resources
Articles from Lilith Magazine:
“Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives” by Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman
"We are Dying Because of the Fears of White People" by Dena Robinson
"Where Was the 'Peace' 400 Years Ago?" by Makeda Zabot-Hall
"Connecting Jewish Tradition with Black Fugitive Legacies" Chanel Dubofsky interviews artist Jessica Valoris
Referenced in the episode:
About the Unetaneh Tokef
Rabbi Professor David Golinkin on Unetaneh Tokef
Teshuvah in the High Holidays
John Punch sentenced to slavery in 1640
George Washington and his letter to the Jews of Newport
"The Challenge of the Selma Photograph" by Susanna Heschel, PhD
"Counting Inconsistencies" study
Exercises For Educators:
"Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives" for Youth Learners (PDF)
"Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives" for Adult and Teen Learners (PDF)
Watch with captions on YouTube:
Also From Our Artists
Litany - Who Shall Live?
To accompany the episode, we invite you to listen to an audio experience composed and created by Fahad Siadat, who composed the music for our 2019 production, hell prepared, and is also the composer for our upcoming production, breaking protocols. In this piece, Fahad brings together audio from the episode, new musical composition, and sounds taken from protests in the United States to reflect on the themes and issues discussed in the episode.
ABOUT OUR EPISODE PARTNER
Independent, Jewish & frankly feminist since 1976, Lilith’s mission is to be the feminist change-agent in and for the Jewish community: amplifying Jewish feminist voices, creating an inclusive and positive Judaism, spurring gender consciousness in the Jewish world and empowering women, girls and trans and nonbinary people of every background to envision and enact change in their own lives and the larger community.