Exploring the sites, stories, and symbolism surrounding this sacred space through the lens of a Black and African diasporic experience
Public Lecture Series, Graduate Course, Travel Excursion, Concert and More
September 26 - October 8, 2023
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III • Dr. Rami Nashashibi
Join us in fulfilling a dream to explore the sacred geography of Jerusalem through a framework that privileges a Black American and African lens. This exploration will be navigated through a variety of educational and cultural engagements, including a special graduate-level semester-long course and an 11-day excursion to Jerusalem and surrounding areas, featuring visits with religious and civic leaders from multiple faith traditions. In addition, a series of public lectures in the Chicagoland area, and arts/cultural programs are envisioned in the Spring and Summer, leading into the Fall graduate course and excursion. Bayan Islamic Graduate School is serving as the facilitator and partner for this unprecedented collection of experiences.
The course and excursion will be led jointly by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III (Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ) and Dr. Rami Nashashibi (Executive Director, Inner-city Muslim Action Network and MacArthur Fellow). The Black Jerusalem excursion departs on Tuesday, Sept. 26 and concludes on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023.
We anticipate a significant demand for the limited number of slots in the trip to this Sacred Land. Our goal is to intentionally curate a beautifully aligned yet diverse group of seekers, artists, graduate students, organizers, activists, scholars, philanthropists, politicos and influencers of all kinds for the inaugural Black Jerusalem cohort.
Black Jerusalem will foreground a pedagogical insight into the multifaceted story of Jerusalem and its geography through a 11-day journey into the multiple sacred traditions of this ancient city and its surrounding geography while highlighting the following:
Jerusalem, and notions of the New Jerusalem in Black Liberation Theology and Black Religion as symbols of black liberation, redemption and freedom;
Jerusalem and racial identity through the lens of African Palestinians, Black Hebrews, Ethiopian communities and others from the African Diaspora;
through the modern lens of racial justice, exploring local issues of gentrification, displacement, mass-incarceration, police brutality, surveillance and socio-economic disparities.
Both Dr. Moss and Dr. Nashashibi have lived, worked, taught and organized on Chicago’s South Side for decades and see that area as a place with its own sacred geography forged through resilient faith, brilliant artistry and radical community organizing. The subject matter and themes associated with the framing of a Black Jerusalem are deeply personal and important to both of them for similar and distinct reasons. For one of them, these themes are rooted in being a descendent of enslaved Africans whose ancestors were forcibly dragged to these shores and whose struggles were animated by Black religious currents that kept the trope of a New Jerusalem alive as a guiding North Star for a Langston Hughes vision of an America that has yet to be. For the other, it’s the nine-centuries-long family connection to this ancient city on one side of the family and the experience of refuge in a racially segregated South Side Chicago on the other that has always made the transnational and transcendent connections between both these urban spaces ever present.
No doubt this journey together will be filled with a range of emotions, experiences and insights that would only be enhanced and deepened by your presence.
Please use the button below to complete the brief Black Jerusalem pre-registration form by Friday February 10th to apply for a spot in the excursion.