January 20, 2021
The Central Conference of American Rabbis congratulates Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala D. Harris on their inauguration as President and Vice President of the United States of America. Reform rabbis rejoice for the inauguration of the first woman to hold nationwide elected office, and we celebrate the powerful and profound moment of Justice Sonya Sotomayor, the first woman of color to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, administering the oath of office to the first woman of color elected Vice President of the United States.
Today was a day for millions of Americans to witness the transition of power and leadership of our country. Observing this seminal event from individual homes rather than amidst the time-honored throngs crowded onto the National Mall, the CCAR notes with gratitude the Covid-19 precautions taken in the careful planning of today’s Inauguration. We applaud the bipartisan dignitaries and former U.S. Presidents in attendance for following current health and safety protocols, displaying life-saving leadership for American citizens. We are grateful, too, for the National Guard and law enforcement personnel who assured a safe transition of power.
Reform rabbis note with gratitude that President Biden and Vice President Harris have set an agenda that includes many of the social justice commitments and expressed priorities of the CCAR and our Reform Jewish Movement, including:
- Rapid and equitable efforts to end the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on American lives, health, and welfare;
- A commitment to the dismantling of systemic racism and the pursuit of racial justice, including police and criminal justice reform;
- A strong US-Israel relationship;
- Economic justice;
- Environmental justice;
- Women’s rights, including reproductive justice;
- Universal healthcare;
- LGBTQ+ equality;
- A two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace and security;
- Comprehensive immigration reform, including a clean DREAM Act; and
- The protection of First Amendment rights, including religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
We urge President Biden and Vice President Harris, and all who will serve in their administration, to pursue these worthy goals with passion and determination, and we wholeheartedly pledge our active support of their efforts.
Reform rabbis enthusiastically embrace our new President’s goal of healing the divisions that have weakened our nation. We are dedicated to holding President Biden to his pledge “to be a President who does not see red or blue states, but United States,” and we urge all Americans to work together in support of this vision and important aspiration. In the President’s words, “It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together.” We pray that President Biden and Vice President Harris will be blessed with fortitude, courage, stamina, and God’s enduring protection as they lead our nation.
Rabbi Ronald Segal
Rabbi Hara E. Person
Central Conference of American Rabbis