We, along with many of you and many in your communities, are devastated by the Senate’s vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We share the pain and frustration of many at the Senate’s decision, as well as at the deep division and anger this debate has inflamed across our country.
Together with the RAC, the URJ, and other Reform Movement organizations, we opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination: both prior to the hearings, based on his judicial record on matters of core concern to us as Reform Jews, including reproductive, voting, and LGBTQ rights; and again during the hearings, related to the allegations of sexual assault brought forward by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and the partisan tenor of Mr Kavanaugh’s response.
At the same time, we recognize that within our membership and within the communities we lead, there may be some who believe this weekend’s outcome was correct. As rabbinic leaders, it is our duty to heal rather than exacerbate the pain and divisiveness caused by this process; to work toward unity in our communities while still maintaining the sacred principles that make us who we are. It remains our task to be courageous, steady and compassionate leaders: to listen to those who need to share stories of pain and fear, to be supportive of those who need us, and to make our communities safe havens of both tolerance and compass.
The landscape has changed. Sexual violence is now higher in our collective consciousness than ever before. This renewed awareness presents an opportunity for us to advance dialogue and to ensure that the voices of survivors within our own communities are heard. It is time to review and revise our practices and policies to ensure that the communities we lead are safe and respectful spaces in which harmful behavior is no longer normalized or tolerated. We encourage you to find and create spaces for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories, and to be a resource and confidant for those who are unable to speak openly about their experiences.
We also affirm that although Kavanaugh’s confirmation threatens our values as Reform rabbis, it does not change them. We will continue to speak up on behalf of our communities, particularly for those groups now most at risk, and to urge elected officials and government institutions to exercise moral leadership. Our core values and our dedication to realizing them have not diminished. We will continue to work with our partners within the Reform movement and beyond it to act on these shared and sacred principles. Now more than ever, we must each find ways to be advocates for justice, righteousness and peace in our communities and across our nation. With you, the CCAR commits anew to this unfinished and urgent work.
Rabbi David E. Stern
Rabbi Steven A. Fox
Central Conference of American Rabbis