Black-Jew Dialogues blends entertainment, education


By Nicholas Sauma, Reporter

In their upcoming performance “Black-Jew Dialogues,” Ron Jones and Larry Jay Tish use puppets, improvisation and personal experience to put on a show about racism, prejudice and hate.  
“We use laughter to break down walls and expose the absurdity of hatred,” Tish said. “We hope that by the end, people have a better understanding of themselves, the people around us and can have open dialogue about our differences.”
“African Americans and the Jewish people were very close back in the Civil Rights Movement, but there’s been some drift since then, so we hope this show helps restore those ties,” said Moshe Gershovich, director of the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies.
The Schwalb Center is co-sponsoring the event with Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani, chair of the Department of Black Studies. The Schwalb Center is relatively new on campus, having been formed in 2009, and Gershovich hopes for more opportunities like these to work with other departments on campus.
The name, Black-Jew Dialogues, came from the fact that Ron Jones is black and Tish is Jewish; however, the content is not limited to those two groups.  
“When we wrote this seven or eight years ago, we included everybody,” Tish said. “The name stuck just because of the nature of Ron and I.”  
Some of their content can be found online, and it doesn’t shy from sore stereotypes at all.  Instead, it laughs at and ridicules them. These two are not new to the business of entertainment, with Jones an Emmy-winning performer. They also tour extensively across the US and Canada, and have been molding and morphing the show ever since then.
After Gershovich saw them perform at Peru State College a few months ago, he asked them to consider a show on UNO’s campus. Tish described that they always notify synagogues, community centers, colleges and universities when they enter a state, and then try to get back to those requests after the original show. So they put UNO down after Gershovich expressed interest. Now, in a few days, the efforts of Gershovich and Imani will be realized, and hopefully a large audience will be entertained.
The event will start at 1 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom.
It will include sketches, improvisation, puppetry, a game show and a post-show discussion all with the goal of triggering conversation about diversity.

What: Black-Jew Dialogues Event
Where: Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom
When: 1 p.m. on Jan. 23
Cost: Free