Central Conference of American Rabbis Deplores White Supremacist Violence
Sunday, August 13, 2017
The Central Conference of American Rabbis grieves with all decent Americans today, during a weekend of racist and anti-Semitic hate speech and violence that led to murder in Virginia and scarred our nation's soul.
In Pirkei Avot, the Chapters of our Sages, we learn from the great rabbi Hillel: "In a place where nobody is human, strive for humanity." This weekend, Charlottesville was not devoid of humanity. Brave men and women gathered in that city to stand up to vile rhetoric that would dehumanize Americans of color, Jews, immigrants, and others who are deemed less than rightfully American by neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and others who make up the hateful "alt-right" movement that is the scourge of America in 2017.
Our rabbinic Conference is proud of our Charlottesville colleagues who stood among diverse clergy to create safe space near the violence and hatred today. Those men and women of faith strove for humanity in a place where the divine image was threatened by words, by clubs, and by an automobile wielded as a terrorist's weapon.
Reform rabbis join our colleague, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, in calling upon the President of the United States to stand up to inhumanity unequivocally. Rabbi Jacobs wrote, "We commend the opening of President Trump's statement condemning the 'egregious display of hatred bigotry and violence' but are deeply troubled by the moral equivalence evident in President Trump's statement today. White supremacists wielding Nazi flags and spewing racist vitriol need to be specifically condemned, not only violence and hate 'on many sides.'"
Reform rabbis stand ready to protect the freedom even of those who would deploy American freedom of speech and assembly in an attempt to spread despicable racist hatred. We fervently pray that those who rioted against American diversity this weekend will repent of their racist hatred and violence, and join with all decent Americans who celebrate the humanity of every person in this great land.
Reform rabbis pledge our words and our actions to combat racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.
Reform rabbis pray for that messianic future foretold by our prophets, when "all shall sit under their vine and fig tree, with none to make them afraid."
Rabbi David Stern Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis