Letter to the Editor: Disappointed in Haver Statement on June 4

In response to the 14 Haver rabbis’ statement of June 4, “Haver Stands in Unity and Mourning with the Family, Friends and Community of George Floyd”:

We are also saddened by the killing of George Floyd. We also deplore racism and police brutality. We too are grieving for Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

But we were also disappointed by some parts of the statement.

We were disappointed it did not condemn the widespread violence of the protests: the looting, the destruction of people’s businesses and livelihoods, the injuring of thousands, and the killings which now number at least 22 lives. We mourn the black lives of David Dorn, Robert Forbes, David McAtee, Chris Beaty, Patrick Underwood, Italia Kelly and others during the violence.

We were also disappointed that it did not mention the anti-Semitism in the protests – the vandalizing of synagogues in Richmond, Virginia, and vandalizing and desecration of synagogues, kosher stores and Jewish day schools along with anti-Semitic graffiti in Los Angeles and the efforts by protesters to link American police brutality with Israel.

We believe we have similar goals but different ideas about how to implement solutions. We care about black lives but are concerned about the violence and anti-Semitism exhibited by the group Black Lives Matter. We support peaceful, positive solutions. For example, we’ve already seen Gofundme pages set up to support some people who lost their businesses. The African American Community Advisory Board in Seattle is a group that works together with police to improve police training and behavior. We would support other peaceful, positive solutions such as these.

      Mimi Ito
      Emily Rudd
      Gideon Markman
      Tracy Diamond

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3 comments

  1. Stanley I Kreis

    I notice on the Haver Statement itself, the commenting is turned off. Why? For reasons of a full discussion of the pluses and minuses of the Haver statement, it would have been appropriate for the statement to have been open to critical analysis. It sure needs it. The fact that it is not open to public critique says, in my opinion, that the authors, or the BJN, are afraid of the criticism. Here, in short, is my thinking on the reason for the closure. The Rabbis fear the debate they would get because they fear their statement is wrong on their wording. In point of fact, it is not a halachic statement as Halacha has much more to say then they 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 error 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.

    • Editor's Note: BJN's WordPress setting is to close comments on all posts after 15 days (to discourage spam comments on older posts). In the interests of keeping the discussion going on this issue, we will extend this period to 30 days effective immediately. DF

  2. Stanley I Kreis

    I notice on the Haver Statement itself, the commenting was turned off, but is now turned back on to allow for a discussion of Haver's thinking. For reasons of a full discussion of the pluses and minuses of the Haver statement, it is appropriate for the statement to be open to critical analysis. It sure needs it. Here, in short, is my thinking on the statement. In point of fact, it is not a halachic statement as Halacha has much more to say then they 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. It is said that G-d chose the House of 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 error 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