Combating antisemitism and racism with jazz

Three organizations will come together to host a two-day jazz event aimed at combating racism and antisemitism.

Itamar Borochov, Israeli jazz trumpeter who won the Rising Stars jazz award (photo credit: JAKA VINSEK)
Itamar Borochov, Israeli jazz trumpeter who won the Rising Stars jazz award
(photo credit: JAKA VINSEK)

The American Sephardi Federation, the Jazz Leadership Project and the Combat Antisemitism Movement will come together to hold their first event to combat racism and antisemitism on October 24 and 25.

The event will celebrate Albert Murray's vision of "omni-American" culture with jazz music at its center. The goal is to build a "better American future" on the basis of omni-cultural collaboration between black and Jewish Americans.

The event will feature live jazz music by the Itamar Borochov Quartet and discussions in which a variety of musicians, writers, scholars and activists will participate. Opening and leading the event will be Greg Thomas and Aryeh Tepper, two educators and writers.

Following the opening remarks, there will be virtual readings by Chloe Valdary and Prof. Farah Jasmine Griffin, and Prof. Robert G. O'Meally and jazz master Donald Harrison will present and lead discussions.

At the end of the first day, the first annual Albert Murray Award for Omni-American Excellence will be awarded to Murray's student, Wynton Marsalis, a musician, composer and artist who is the managing director of jazz at the Lincoln Center.

 The two day event will feature jazz and discussions (credit: Courtesy) The two day event will feature jazz and discussions (credit: Courtesy)

Featured in the second day will be writers and thinkers like Thomas Chatterton Williams, Jonathan Silver and John Wood Jr., while author and psychologist Pamela Paresky will lead a conversation with chef Andrew Zimmern. ASF Executive Director Jason Guberman will lead a conversation with scholar of Semitic, African and African-American Studies Ephraim Isaac. Muslim American leader Zainab Zeb Khan will also make an appearance.

"Omni-Americanism is very important because it's about a combination, a mixture of elements becoming a whole," said Thomas. "I see this project as changing the world through culture, especially music, and the meaning and values of practices and cultures."

"I want to help people think differently about racism and antisemitism," said Tepper. "We need to be open to all forms of human excellence. We never know where life or vitality is going to show up. What's the opposite of racism and antisemitism? A love of human excellence."