Being African American in the United States is the experience of being the other and being outside. And being Jewish, has some simpatico with that. However, being Jewish in Brookline, for example, lacks this awareness since there's such a critical mass of Jews in Brookline and largely Ashkenazic Jews....
The United States generally has got such strong negative imaging for the other of African Americans, which I think really harks from unprocessed stuff around slavery. But it spills into the Jewish experience especially where Jews really equate themselves with whites....So the alignments are such that even though there's some simpatico as between the African American experience and the Jewish experience - especially the history of Judaism - day to day life with Ashkenazic Jews is not that different from being around any other white people. There still a real feeling of avoidance. And so while I would attend temple, I never felt really embraced by the Jewish community that I was part of.