Chef Michael W. Twitty, a Black Jew, is currently subjected to heated inquiries that have nothing to do with the kitchen.
In an interview with author Jane Ziegelman at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan on Sunday night, Twitty—the author of “Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew” and the recipient of two James Beard awards in 2018 for cookbook writing—discussed the antisemitism scandals involving the rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West) and the basketball player Kyrie Irving.
He reaffirmed his refusal to forgive Ye.
Kanye West, according to Twitty, is a jerk. “The issue we have is that his knowledge is really hazy. He is not an Israelite. I’m able to manage them. They are something I’ve dealt with for thirty years or so. I’ve been screaming at them for a long time.
Resistance to myself and those like me has been highly disruptive. I beg your freaking pardon when people say things like, “Well, you’re not Jewish…’cause you consume kosher food doesn’t make you a Jew.” I’ve been a Hebrew school teacher for 15 years; does wearing tefillin make me Jewish? It makes me Jewish if I have white hairs on my head from being so stressed out getting ready for my kids’ bar and bat mitzvahs.
He claimed that Ye’s outbursts were at their worst when he discussed scaring Jewish children.
That made me angry. Ye’s declaration that he wanted Jewish children to ask their parents why the rapper was mad at them made Twitty extremely angry, and she remarked, “That made me really, really, really, really, mad.”
Despite Ye’s “many faults,” Twitty does not give him “a pass.”
“But what people miss is what will happen to them if they judge the next brother and sister that enters a synagogue to worship and be a part of the community based on this fool? The fact that the face of anti-Jewishness is someone like them makes it even worse for us that we aren’t always welcome in some locations and communities, he said.
Previously, Twitty was a fan of Ye.
“He discussed surviving, persevering, retaliating, and standing up as a Black guy.
That, my God, made me proud,” Twitty exclaimed. “I was like, ‘Wow; I need to listen to this man’s music.’ But now, I don’t care if it’s on YouTube; I won’t listen to anything he’s ever done. I don’t care. I don’t care. Hitler won’t get my forgiveness. I won’t pardon anyone who wanted my people to perish.
Anyone who disparaged George Floyd or Harriet Tubman will never win my forgiveness. Uh-uh. No, no, no. Get your act together.