Solidarity Against Racism

It is almost impossible for me to imagine the depth of rage, fear, sadness and despair among African American communities in the wake of repeated police brutality and murder of unarmed people of color, and yet surely now that anger at such injustice has to be taken on by all of us. George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – all human beings created in the Divine image with rights to dignity and safety like all of us – have been murdered in the last few months by law enforcement that is supposed to keep us all safe.  How can it be?  We can condemn peaceful protests turned violent, but we have to understand the boiling rage at the continued systemic racism in this country. The destruction of property is awful and sad, but the taking of innocent human life is incomparably worse. 

Last night I joined the NAACP, mainly because I don’t know what else to do. Dozens of Jewish organizations have issued very strong statements of solidarity in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd.  Here are some of them:

With us still in the anxiety and fear of COVID19 and coming out of Shavuot where we recommit ourselves to the values of Torah, so many of us feel at a loss to know how to respond and what to do. Clearly strong statements are not enough, but they are a start as they express solidarity and demand change. In the words of part of the Rabbinical Assembly’s statement:

“We join in the collective call for peace and reflection during civil unrest, but understand that to achieve this end we must act. For these reasons, the Rabbinical Assembly calls on legislators at the national, state, and local levels to fundamentally change their approach to law enforcement and the justice system so that they serve and protect all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity. We encourage our own members to reach out to other communities, to Jews of Color, as well as to local law enforcement to help lead and shape these endeavors within the community.”

Let’s do what we can.

Rabbi Marc

About Rabbi Marc Soloway

Marc is a native of London, England where he was an actor and practitioner of complimentary medicine before training as a rabbi in London, Jerusalem and Los Angeles. He was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies at the American Jewish University in 2004 and has been the the spiritual leader at Bonai Shalom in Boulder ever since. Marc was a close student of Rabbi Zalman Schechter Shalomi and received an additional smicha (rabbinic ordination) from him in 2014, just two months before he died. He has been the host and narrator of two documentary films shown on PBS; A Fire in the Forest: In Search of the Baal Shem Tov and Treasure under the Bridge: Pilgrimage to the Hasidic Masters of Ukraine. Marc is a graduate of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders, has traveled to Ghana in a rabbinic delegation with American Jewish World Service and co-chair of the Rabbinical Council and national board member of Hazon, which strives to create more sustainable Jewish communities. In 2015, Marc was among a group of 12 faith leaders honored at The White House as “Champions of Change” for work on the climate. Marc is a proud member of Beit Izim, Boulder’s Jewish goat milking co-op.

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One comment

  1. Gary Hittelman

    Ahmaud Arbery was not killed by law enforcement.