All proceeds of the Jews for Black Lives T-Shirt will go to the Black Jewish Liberation Collective.
The idea of the piece was simple: to honor, uplift, and amplify the aesthetics and message of the original BLM graphic, while bringing it into contact with Jewish aesthetics of sofrut and Torah that implore us to pursue the path of justice.
To do this, it was important that there was no embellishment, no ornament, no symbol, no icon, just the central Jewish idiom: text. The goal was to bring viewers into direct contact with the sacredness of language and the sacred call to Black liberation.
The phrase Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof (Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue) comes from Deuteronomy 16:20.
The Jews4BlackLives hashtag was created by Black Jews at JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice) in 2015 as a way to create a powerful container that could hold both Black Jews and non-Black Jewish allies as we marched in the streets. Just as the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is a group of Black organizers and activists who are fighting for their own liberation, Black Jews organizing under the banner of J4BL are fighting for their own lives — visibly and proudly as Jews, while also inviting other Jews to join in solidarity.
The design was created in collaboration by artist/poet/activist and Jewish Currents author Tom Haviv (@tmhaviv, @hamsaflag) and rabbi/artist/soferet Rachel Rosenbluth (@blu.th).
In the words of Rabbi Bluth:
Let the pursuit of justice be our prayer! In this moment of moral urgency, our commitment to anti-racism is THE act of Sacred Service. Justice is the embodiment of our Jewish and spiritual values. To demand dignity is to honor the holiness of humanity, and active solidarity is to sanctify human life and G!dliness.
In the words of the prophet Amos (5:24): “Let justice flow like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream”
“וְיִגַּ֥ל כַּמַּ֖יִם מִשְׁפָּ֑ט וּצְדָקָ֖ה כְּנַ֥חַל אֵיתָֽן׃.
Let’s listen deeply, and boldly express our moral imagination – our belief that another way is possible – through action, through solidarity.