Congregation Beth Shalom is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, an organization that represents more than 800 Reform Congregations. Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the President of the URJ, and last week he issued the following statement concerning the violence in Charlottesville, VA, and our nation’s response to it. His words are worth being taken seriously.

As we bid farewell to the Sabbath, we pray that the week to come will be filled with calm and safety and that those who have committed crimes will be brought to justice.

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 just violence and hate, “on many sides.”  If our leaders cannot call out this virulent strand of hate, we will surely fail to stop it.

Once again hate has killed; we mourn the loss of life and those injured in the violence. We call on all, no matter what their views, to eschew violence and condemn in the strongest terms the car attack that killed and injured protestors.

Racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views have no place in a society that cherishes freedom and liberty for all. The right to speak and hold repugnant views is not a right to circumscribe the ability of others to live in peace and security. Torch-lit marches of hate evoke the KKK; the image of a heavily armed “militia” standing among the neo-Nazi protestors should send an alarm to every person of good conscience in our nation.

The vile presence and rhetoric of the neo-Nazis who marched this weekend in Charlottesville is a reminder of the ever-present need for people of good will to stand strong, to speak loudly against hate, and to act to both delegitimize those who spread such messages and to mitigate the harm done to the commonweal of our nation and to those who are the targets of hate messages.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism
August 12, 2017
Words to consider with seriousness, but the violence continues.

Rabbi Stanley Halpern