Central Conference of American Rabbis Condemns Death Threats and Vandalism at Ra’anana Synagogue
Thursday, November 24, 2016
The Central Conference of American Rabbis is outraged that our friends at Kehilat Ra’anana awakened this morning to find hateful messages spray-painted on their sacred synagogue home. We are horrified that threats have been issued, by name, against the lives of our members — Union for Reform Judaism President, Rick Jacobs; Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism Executive Director, Rabbi Gilad Kariv; as well as Israel Religious Action Center Executive Director, Anat Hoffman.
Reform rabbis repudiate this dangerous threat to Israel’s civil society; but sadly, we are not surprised. Vandalism and death threats are to be expected from those who directed physical violence at Rabbis Jacobs and Kariv, Ms. Hoffman, and others on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, when they peacefully escorted Torah scrolls to the women’s section of Judaism’s holiest site, the Kotel, the western retaining wall of our sacred Temple mount
We are grateful that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials have condemned this incident of vandalism and death threats. At the same time, we lay much responsibility for acts like these at his feet and his government that continually refuses to grant equal rights to Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel. The Kotel is but one potent example. After agreeing to create a section at the Kotel for egalitarian prayer, the government failed to take steps to implement the plan, empowering Ultra-Orthodox to influence government action to their liking and facilitating the continuation of horrors like today’s in Ra’anana.
We are mindful today of the teaching of our sages, that the Second Temple was destroyed because of “groundless hatred” of Jew against Jew. Similar division, expressed today on the exterior walls of Kehillat Ra’anana, threaten the very soul of the the State of Israel.
Reform rabbis stand with the rabbis and members of Kehillat Ra’anana and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. We stand against violence, vandalism, and death threats, particularly when issued in the name of our sacred tradition, profaning the Divine Name. We stand with the Israeli Reform community and we pray for their safety. We stand with the State of Israel, praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis