Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Black and Jewish Leaders Think Positive

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Black and Jewish Leaders Think Positive

Article excerpt

RELATIONS BETWEEN blacks and Jews in St. Louis will continue to improve regardless of a "bloodsucker" remark by Louis Farrakhan, leaders of relations between the two groups said Tuesday.

Don Wolff, co-chairman of the African-American Jewish Dialogue Committee, said members of this group have been meeting once a month for the past five years. "The effort and emphasis on resolving problems existed before Farrakhan's march and will exist after the march," said Wolff, a Clayton lawyer.

Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation said blacks and Jews "have enough common goals to unite us" despite leadership of the Million Man March in Washington by Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, a Muslim group.

"I hope he gets a message, that God sends him a message," Talve said. "I loved what he said. Be kind to women and all those things that were in his pledge. That was a good pledge. I'd like to sit down with him and tell what God says to me."

Before the march on Monday, Farrakhan said those who profit from the black community and give nothing back were "bloodsuckers." He named Jews, Arabs, Koreans and Vietnamese.

"I don't think relationships were helped by Farrakhan's remark," Wolff said. His dialogue committee is cosponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Because of the march, Wolff said, Farrakhan "might be perceived as a leader of the African-American community. Because of this new role, there's more need to work together to prevent relations from being harmed."

Wolff said there are many reasons for tension between blacks and Jews: quotas, affirmative action and school desegregation are examples.

Talve spoke of a five-year program run by Central Reform Congregation and Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church. Forty-five mentors from each church go to Cote Brilliante elementary school twice a month to tutor students and meet parents. …

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