In the last few weeks’ Torah portions, we’ve been reading about the hundreds of years of Jewish slavery and our “Exodus” from bondage to redemption. With this closely in mind, I wanted to share this important picture and experience.
I took this at the Sandy Spring Museum in Maryland this past week. These are leg shackles that were used on African slaves brought to America. They are made of iron from South Carolina and are obviously completely barbaric to use on anybody!
The sign at the base of the shackles encourages visitors to actually touch them.
Coming out of the museum, my daughter asked how anyone could actually do something like this to another human being. I had no answer to this…just like I have none to the Holocaust or any of the other incredibly cruel, sick, and wicked things that people do to each other.
Honestly, you don’t have to touch these leg irons or witness the lynchings to see what was done to the African slaves just like you don’t have to physically visit the Auschwitz gas chambers and crematoria to know what was done to the Jews.
As a Jew, I can honestly say that I genuinely feel for the African Americans as we too were once slaves in Egypt and have endured thousands of years of blind discrimination and hatred.
Our people have a lot in common in suffering and tears, and hopefully we can all have a brighter future without slavery and without genocide.