Haver Stands in Unity and Mourning with the Family, Friends and Community of George Floyd

Our hearts are broken, and we are deeply saddened by the continued mistreatment, racial profiling, and injustice that the African American community faces throughout our nation. We are grieving not just for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor but for the many unnamed victims of police brutality, racial profiling, and excessive force.

We condemn these horrific actions committed by the police, including those who watched and did nothing. In the Hebrew bible (or Scriptures), we are commanded to preserve and protect life, to “not stand by while the blood of our neighbor is shed.” (Leviticus 19:16) As Jews, we understand the gravity of what can happen when people stand idly by and allow such crimes to occur; we have fought this battle throughout history – ancient and recent.

Today, we extend our struggle for what is right. We stand in support of our African American brothers and sisters in Boulder, Denver and beyond. We praise Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for his calls to end bigotry and racism, and for legitimizing the constitutional right to assemble and express opinions in the form of peaceful protest. We call on Governor Polis and other local, state and national leaders to work together to improve accountability, overhaul an unbalanced and biased system, and identify fundamental flaws that protect police who act outside the law.

As rabbis and individuals, we send strength and show solidarity by reaching out to our African-American friends, neighbors, colleagues and relations, by patronizing Black-owned businesses, by supporting groups that promote equity for African-heritage Americans, and by working with faith and justice organizations to build an equitable society that guarantees safety and opportunities for all.

As the Rabbinic Council of Boulder, we strive to create welcoming, safe spaces in our congregations and buildings. We are committed to working with our own lay leaders, clergy and staff to do the necessary soul searching and learning to make sure that all who enter are accepted and celebrated.

The Talmud tells us that “when the community is immersed in suffering, a person may not say: I will go to my home and I will eat and drink, and peace be upon you, my soul.” (Talmud Taanit 11a)

We encourage you to take action. Add your voice to ours. Call or write to local legislators and the governor to support state-wide criminal justice reform. Support anti-racist and anti-white supremacy organizations such as Black Lives Matter or the Anti-Defamation League. Change is not quiet, but it can be made peacefully.

The Rabbis of Haver:

Rabbi Deborah Bronstein, Rabbi Emerita Congregation Har HaShem

Rabbi Ori Har DiGenarro, Conscious Learning Community

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Rabbi Emerita Congregation Nevei Kodesh

Morah Yehudis Fishman, Community Educator

Rabbi Ruth Gelfarb, Congregation Har HaShem

Rabbi Sarah Bracha Gershuny, Community Rabbi

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, Adventure Judaism

Rabbi Fred Greene, Congregation Har HaShem

Rabbi Nadya Gross, Pardes Levavot

Rabbi Victor Gross, Pardes Levavot

Rabbi Jamie Korngold, Adventure Judaism

Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein, Adventure Judaism

Rabbi Marc Soloway, Congregation Bonai Shalom

Rabbi Diane Tiferet Lakein, Community Rabbi

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One comment

  1. Stanley I Kreis

    In point of fact, this is not a halachic statement as Halacha has much more to say then the Rabbis relate to the average reader. In other words, the Haver statement is a contrived statement, not accounting for the whole of Judaism, but selectively sort of editing halacha for their particular biases. Between the houses of Hillel and Shamai, they are not Hillel, but Shamai itself. G-d chose Hillel over Shamai because of the humility of Hillel. The Haver statement does not show humility, it shows arrogance. Besides the error in choosing one side of the black community against the other, the radical side against the conservative side, they err in not being immersed in the black community. I challenge them: how many of them know and relate intimately with black people and the black communities? I am guessing almost zero, if not zero…..Stan Kreis

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