Shais Rishon, Rabbi, Kehilat Ir Chadash.
MaNishtana is the pseudonym of Shais Rishon, a Brooklyn-based African-American Orthodox Jewish author, blogger, graphic artist, and public speaker. A social activist more by chance than choice, MaNishtana entered the blogosphere in 2009 with a mission to nurture unity and strengthen multifaceted identity within the Jew of Color (or “JOC”) community. The psuedonym “MaNishtana” is inspired by the first of the Four Questions of the Passover seder, “Mah nishtana halayla hazeh mikol haleilot?/What makes this night different from all other nights?” with the intent to invoke the question with regards to Jews of Color vis a vis “Why is this Jew different from all other Jews?.” The answer to this loaded question, according to MaNishtana, is “Everything and nothing.” 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 multiple press mentions, as well as earning his inclusion on The Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36″ list for 2014. His speaking engagements have included Boston University, the University of Kentucky, and the Eliezer Society at Yale University. In 2010 MaNishtana launched the first online dating site catering to Jews of Color, Mosaic Matches, and in 2014 he founded the multi-culturally Jewish online magazine, JN Magazine. His books include Thoughts From A Unicorn: 100% Black. 100% Jewish. 0% Safe (2012), “Fine, thanks. How are YOU, Jewish?”: A Stream Of Consciousness Stroll Through The Jew Of Color Mind (2014), and The Rishoni Illuminated Legacy Hagadah (2015).