Most ‘experts’ believe Paul McCartney wrote Blackbird in response to the struggle - broken wings - of black America. It was released at the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King (and Bobby Kennedy), riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and Soviet tanks in Prague. Upheaval was here, there and everywhere. The last person to speak before Dr. King delivered "I have a dream" was Rabbi Joachim Prinz. That image (and the song) are on my mind as I struggle with how to best define what our role as Jews is in this battle against racial injustice. Rabbi Prinz - in this picture with Dr. King at an American Jewish Congress event - was there to support and advise. Dr. King was there to lead. We can learn from their example and lend support and if there’s opportunity, give advice .
I wish I could write songs like Blackbird (or any). Rabbi Prinz in his words more than 50 years ago said, “I wish I could sing.” I have already watched this Prinz documentary
and recommend it.
Beyond that I continue to watch for what I fear is always around the corner. Perhaps it comes with the job. So far I have not seen anything to suggest that in places were Jewish institutions were damaged the motive was antisemitism. This is a very good sign.
Justice must not be derailed. And in this week of mayhem there was one other bright (even if a little lost) moment of justice when Steve King, a white supremacist congressman from Iowa, lost the state primary. No matter who wins the actual seat, this is an early win for justice.