Response to Charlottesville and White Supremacy

MBR Statement on White Supremacy & Recent Events - August 17th, 2017

With outrage and horror, the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis denounces the violence perpetrated in Charlottesville, VA, by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. The ugly words, cowardly actions, and murderous violence offer a terrifying wake-up call to recognize the danger in divisive rhetoric and in xenophobic and hateful politics. Our Torah’s insistence that all human beings are created in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27) impels us to act, to affirm the oneness of all people created in God’s image of oneness. Our people’s unspeakable suffering during the Holocaust was at the bloody hands of people inspired by the same Nazi flag carried in Charlottesville, where, unbelievably, slogans were chanted in English that were once chanted in German. From banners of hate to attacks on sacred memory, we reach out to the Holocaust survivors among us, comforting them and ourselves as we witness for the second time this summer the desecration of the New England Holocaust Memorial. Learning from the past, we are reminded once again that hateful symbols and hateful words inspire hateful deeds. 

As Jews, we pledge that ‘Never again’ must be a promise for all times and for all peoples — a promise to protect every threatened person, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender expression, physical ability, or economic and social reality. In this moment of uncertainty and danger, we remember our commitment and calling as rabbis to act through word and deed for the sake of justice and peace, honoring sacred words both ancient and modern that affirm life. As Jews, we know all too well that verbal violence leads to physical violence, a short span from the burning of books to the burning of bodies. 

We call on the President of the United States to unequivocally and personally condemn all forms of racism and hate, Nazism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism, turning in truth from his invidious moral equivalence that continues to blame the violence in Charlottesville on “many sides.” There can be no reticence to identify as terrorism an act of hate that took the life of an American citizen and injured so many others. We further call on the President to root out those in his own administration who give cover and comfort to hate.

Toward preventing further violence in American cities such as that fomented in Charlottesville, we call on the administration to restore funding cut from its budget to investigate and neutralize white supremacists and other violent right wing extremists. 

With pain and sorrow, we call on Americans to respond with prophetic witness to the role that the President’s own words play in the rising tide of hatred and disunity throughout our land. With a welling up of love and compassion that celebrates the beauty of diversity, hope transcending fear, we pray that our country may yet become one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice that is truly for all.


Interfaith Gathering of Unity, Love, and Strength

Friday, August 18th, 5:00 PM, Temple Israel in Boston

The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will host an Interfaith Gathering of Unity, Love, and Strength this Friday at 5:00 PM, at Temple Israel of Boston. At GBIO's Spring Delegates Assembly in April, GBIO adopted the, "Out of Many, One" campaign to fight against threats to vulnerable communities. On Friday we will continue in the spirit of this campaign as we stand together as an organized powerful voice in Greater Boston. We will hear inspiring words from faith leaders across Greater Boston, as we stand together against all forms of hatred, to affirm the power of love and righteousness. All members of clergy will be invited to stand together on the bima in full spiritual regalia, then at 6:00 PM, Temple Israel is inviting our interfaith community to join them for “A Sabbath of Love and Light,” a Shabbat worship experience open to all, devoted to the values of justice and compassion. Please extend this invitation to your family and friends. This is the time for us to be together with all who wish to counter messages of hatred by kindling the light of compassion and human dignity for all. 

Finally, a group of interreligious leaders have prepared a statement. Please click here if you would like to add your name.