Who Is MaNishtana?


MaNishtana was born in 1982 into an African-American Orthodox Jewish family which traces its African-American Jewish roots seven generations back—two generations earlier than even he’d known when entering the blogosphere in 2009. As the blogger behind MaNishtana’s Musings, he works to nurture unity and strengthen multifaceted identity within the Jew of Color community, and invites all to participate in this niche social media site’s conversations. As the founder of JOCFlock.org, an online dating site for Jews of Color, MaNishtana helps Jews of Color find their beshert.

His unique, humorous, and often irreverent outlook on Judaism, race politics, and racial issues within Judaism and without—illustrated through his blogs and videos—have gained popularity through mentions by The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Jerusalem Report, Kehila Magazine, Moment Magazine, Jewcy.com, and Loop 21, as well as earning him nominations for Jewish Hero of the Year 2010 & 2011 and being named one of The Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36″ for 2014. His speaking engagements have included campus Hillels, A Taste of Limmud NY, Birthright Israel NEXT, and the Eliezer Society at Yale.

A social activist more by chance than choice, his life’s true passions include a constant quest for the best rum or scotch, 1940’s films, and winning arguments through proliferous use of sarcasm. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Shoshana, and in 2013 he released his “not-autobiography”, Thoughts From A Unicorn: 100% Black. 100% Jewish. 0% Safeavailable at Amazon.com as well as digitally for Kindle or Nook.

For more information about Thoughts From A Unicorn, please visit https://www.facebook.com/thoughtsfromaunicorn or contact MaNishtana at manishtana@manishtana.net. For media inquiries or speaking opportunities please contact Shoshana Rishon at shoshana@manishtana.net.


The New York Times, “Being Black Jews Without Dividing Loyalties”, August 2010

Online Article  PDF Version

Loop 21, “Not All African Americans Need Christianity For Spiritual Fulfillment”, March 2011

Online Article  PDF Version

The Jerusalem Report, “Jewish Like Me”, April 2011

Online Article  PDF Version

Moment, “Schvartzer: It’s Not Black and White”, May 2011

Online Article  PDF Version

Kehila Magazine, “Thoughts From A Unicorn: An Interview with MaNishtana”, September 2012

Online Article  PDF Version

New York Magazine, “The Black Orthodox”, December 2012

Online Article  PDF Version

D la Repubblica, “Ortodossi Neri”, May 2013

Online Article  PDF Version

Person, Place, Thing: Randy Cohen with Shais Rison, (Radio Interview) May 2013

Online Link     M4A File

Tachles, “100 Prozent Schwarz und Jude–MaNishtana”, February 2014

Online Link     PDF Version

The Jewish Week, “Proud to be Jewish and Black: MaNishtana”, (36 Under 36, 2014), June 2014

Online Link     PDF Version


3 thoughts on “Who Is MaNishtana?

  1. Susan Dana Lawrence

    Well said, as usual. But let’s not make assumptions about our friend Drake, who I believe is technically a Canadian JOC — unless ‘American’ means ‘of the Americas’ and not just ‘of the U.S. of A.’ He does look good on the e-poster though. What a great way to celebrate May.

Leave a Reply