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