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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2 comments

  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

  2. The good Rabeyim of Haver wrote their piece following the revolting and execrable murder of George Floyd. But except for the title, “Haver Stands in Unity and Mourning with the Family, Friends and Community of George Floyd”, Haver pays no particular attention to Mr. Floyd. Instead, they hit all the talking points of the Black Lives Matter movement, and others on the Radical Left: America is racist, police brutality and excessive force are the norm, America is systemically biased, the “peaceful” protesters are only exercising their right to free speech. And Haver ended with a call to action: Support Black Lives Matter and the Anti Defamation League. Unfortunately, none of this comports with the facts, and supporting the BLM movement is exceptionally bad advice.

    Haver begins with the conclusion that America is racist and unjust to the Black community, with special mention of police brutality and excessive force. Denver’s Mayor Hancock, who stood by while the Colorado Capitol was being vandalized and defaced, and did nothing while a Civil war Union soldier statue was toppled, was praised for his fight against bigotry and racism, and for “legitimizing the constitutional right to assemble and express opinions in the form of peaceful protest.” I never knew it took a mob to legitimize a Constitutional right. I never knew a million dollars of damage to public property was part of that Constitutional right to peaceful protest. Haver also called upon Governor Polis to improve accountability, and overhaul an unbalanced and biased system.

    These allegations of racism, systemic police brutality, a biased system, even the motive of racism in the murder of Mr. Floyd, is offered with absolutely no evidence of any kind. Haver is simply repeating talking points of the Radical Left. The statistical facts, widely available, show that more White people die in police custody that Black ones. The facts also show that more than 80% of police contacts have no violence at all, and of the millions of police contacts with the public, few fatalities result. Most people killed in contact with the police were resisting a lawful order. In New York City, according to former NYPD chief Bernard Kerik, 95% of Blacks killed in police custody were resisting arrest. More Blacks do die in this stage of incarceration than Whites. The facts also show that Black incarcerations have dropped 20% in the years from 2007 to 2017, apparently refuting Haver’s claim of systemic or endemic bigotry. The sad truth is that statistics prove that more Blacks are in prison because they commit more crime, not because America is racist or “the system” has anything to do with this.

    Haver overlooked other important facts in their rush to condemn America and the police who protect us. Black men are 6.5% of the population, but commit 52% of all murders. Blacks have an out-of-wedlock birth rate of almost 75%, up from 15% before the welfare programs of the Great Society This has been devastating to the Black family. Virtually all social commentators observe that a functioning family is the best predictor of success in life, both for parents and their children. Young Black boys need a credible male role model in their lives and in their homes, yet responsible fathers in Black homes are a rare commodity indeed . In their indignation, Haver forgot to mention the irony of the many Black businesses destroyed by a mostly White Black Lives Matter mob beying for “racial justice”, or the thousand or so police, many black and/or female, injured while trying to protect lives and property. By focussing only on the false narrative that America is systemically racist and bigoted, and overlooking completely the transformational progress made in race relations over the last 60 years, Haver is making progress the enemy of perfection. In no other country are Blacks freer to make whatever they wish of themselves, and those who take advantage of the opportunities they found or created have excelled in every area of endeavor. The argument of systemic Black oppression and police brutality is simply a lie. The gruesome murder of George Floyd was a disgusting crime that cries out for swift punishment, but White people, and more of them, are also killed by Blacks. Where is Haver’s outrage there?

    But Haver did more than just slander America and the selfless men and women who risk life and limb protecting all of us from criminals. They openly called for Jews to support Black Lives Matter, a Marxist anarchist organization that is the enemy of Israel, of Jews, and of America. The tragic death of George Floyd was immediately hijacked by BLM as a cover for an avowedly anti-American antisemitic movement to sow chaos and division, hoping to reach their goal of destroying America and Western civillization. Shaun King, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, called for attacking churches and destroying statues, stained glass, and murals if Jesus was depicted with European features. No racism there. Apparently no lesson for Haver either. Do they think the BLM mob will just walk past a synagogue on their way to destroy a church?

    Haver is advising the Jewish community from their position as a moral authority. They have an obligation to insure that their positions are unassailable, their motives are honorable, and they speak the truth. Haver’s letter encourages others to support Black Lives Matter, even though they have known ties to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement, and Antifa, both of which call for the destruction of Israel and/or America. This is irresponsible and destructive advice. These groups are not our friends. They will never be our friends, and we don’t want them as friends. They are trained Marxist radical revolutionaries engaged in insurrection. Their intent is to destroy Western Civilization, of which freedom of religion is a very hard fought part. They cannot be appeased, and they will not stop. They understand that social unrest provides a path to revolution, and they are successfully undermining American society by creating division and social unrest. It has nothing to do with race. That is just the vehicle they use to get to their goals. By supporting BLM, we are directly supporting an enemy committed to destroying us, who is riding a wave in the streets, and who is being successful. Supporting BLM, although well intentioned, is suicidal. They mean to destroy America using racial conflict as the way. There will be no set-aside for the Jewish people in America. Well intenioned people concerned about racial harmony are being misled. Black people are being scammed.

    I have not seen any retraction of Haver’s ill-advised prescription for what ails America, or any acknowledgement of the self-destructive and uninformed nature of their advice. I believe Haver has the obligation to be fully informed before advising the community on any topic. My prayer is that Haver will re-examine their statements with a humble heart, and apologise to our Jewish community for their hubris and calumnies against the police, against America, and against the overwhelming majority of decent Americans of all races and creeds, who bear no animus against anyone, and who want to see America succeed. In this way can Haver speak as a voice of informed Jewish morality, not simply a voice for the false unexamined talking points of the Radical Left.