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  • Writer's pictureShoshana Brown

A Kwanzakkah Story

A Kwanzakkah Story

19 Kislev 5780/ Dec 17, 2019

Kohenet Shoshana Akua Brown, LMSW is a Black mixed race Jewish femme from the Bronx; a healer and organizer for the liberation of all people.

Prologue: This is just my story of the creation of Kwanzakkah. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to think of this holiday, nor the first to say the word Kwanzakkah out loud. I imagine tons of Black Jews saying it regularly amongst their families, creating new ritual as they go. I hope one day to hear the stories of all the ways Kwanzakkah has met and sustained Black Jews in their aliveness. I would be remiss to not acknowledge the ways in which the celebration of Kwanzaa has been tarnished by the abhorrent actions of the founder. I strongly believe in the principles of restorative justice and the power of this celebration, which goes beyond any container one person can hold by themselves. Kwanzaa is and always will be about community.

After a long night of dancing, drumming, and singing as loud as she could in a gymnasium with horrible acoustics, 12-year-old Shoshana and her mom rushed home tired and achy to light the menorah before soaking in a bath and heading off to bed. She hummed the song resonating in her head from the night’s celebrations: “Black is for the color of our skin... we who are the children of the ancient Africans” blended right into “al ha’nissim v’al hapurkan.”

See the rest of the story at:

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