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The Curse of Ham: Is Genesis 9 Racist?

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis St San Francisco, CA, 94115 US (map)
Raffi Magarik.jpg

Free event with free garage parking on Pierce St between Ellis and Eddy (click here for a map)

Where does racism come from, and what do foundational Jewish stories have to say about it? Raffi Magarik will lead a collaborative study of the so-called “Curse of Ham,” a biblical passage from the ninth chapter of Genesis used to justify racism since late antiquity—and particularly to justify African American slavery in the United States. This presentation will explore the story through the eyes of its interpreters and look at what both ancient rabbinic and modern Black readers have made of it.

Raphael Magarik is a PhD candidate in English at the UC Berkeley, with an emphasis in
Jewish studies. He teaches Jewish texts for Kevah, and has taught at Yeshivat Hadar, Drisha,
and BINA. Magarik holds a BA in English from Yale and is an alumnus of the Bronfman
Youth and Dorot fellowships. He writes for the Forward and Haaretz and has been
published in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast.

Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica.