Tikkun Olam / Ubuntu: We are one – by Cindy Steede Almeida

This is an invitation to the Jewish diaspora and the African diaspora to see and hear with their hearts, not their heads, and not even though the lens of religion or traumatic memory of the events that occurred over the past 500 years and beyond.

I have a desire to see us all whole again and embrace the undeniable and long hidden truth of our connectedness.  The ancient bloodline between us is speaking and revealing itself.  The Native Americans acknowledge this existence of “blood memory”.  Native American Storyteller and Journalist, Mary Annette Pember shares the Ojibwe people’s definition of the blood memory in her article published in the Daily Yonder, 16 July 2010. “The Ojibwe understand that blood memory is their ancestral (genetic) connection to their language, songs, spirituality, and teachings.  It is the good feeling they experience when they are near these things.” 

Research has already confirmed the link between our genetic markers and DNA.  There need be no more separation or division because we are ONE!  My prayer is that we both start to embrace our oneness.

The old religious understanding that Judaism and Christianity are separate created a false narrative and identity in us similar to the false identity imposed upon us by the societal construct called race.  Judaism is the foundation of Christianity.  I sense that neither Abraham nor Yahshua/Jesus came to start a “religion”.  I believe they came with simple acts of faith and presented a new message of remembrance of who we were really created to be in the Earth.

When Moshe asked the burning bush, “who are you and what is your name?” YHVH simply replied, “I AM THAT I AM”.   Likewise, we are!  UBUNTU – I am because you are!  You are because I AM!  We exist because we are connected.  Again, we are ONE!  We have much to learn from and need one another.  We must sit at one another’s feet to undo the centuries of lies, hate and misunderstanding forced upon us by traditions of our own making or propagated against us by others.

My journey with the Jewish people began when I was 15.  I was in a high school history class learning about the holocaust that was passionately and emotionally taught by a woman whom I now believe may have been Jewish.  I don’t think she ever knew the impact she had on my life, but she is no longer with us to ask such questions.  Through her and many other teachers and mentors over the years, I’ve learned to value the storytellers art.  We must hear the stories of the African Griots, the Jewish Rabbis, the Scottish Bairds and the Native American Dream-keepers.  There is a golden thread  that weaves us all together culminating sometimes in a miracle of connection, a blood connection that we never thought existed.

We can begin to repair the world (tikkun olam).  After the transatlantic slave trade, Jewish migrations and holocaust, we seemed to have lost our ancient connectedness and had forgotten our bloodlines.  The fascination lately with genealogy and DNA tests may be an attempt to find out just who we are and where we originate from.  Who am I?  Who are my people?  You are my people!  Again, I say I am and because I am, you are and we are ONE in I AM.  UBUNTU!

I dare to step into the waters of your cultural identity and invite you to step into mine.


Graphic by Priscilla du Preez via Unsplash

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