Occasionally our rabbis have things to say.
Insurrection, & the New Dawn
I pray that we are able to begin a new chapter of accountability, honesty and justice for all. Are we ready for the kind of spiritual transformation that this will require? Are we prepared to examine how our own fear and silence might have contributed to this poisoned reality? Are we willing to do the work to replace narratives and norms of white supremacy and toxic masculinity with a new narrative of redemption?
Condolences: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
On Shabbat, we learned of the death of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of Britain and an important teacher for all of us. Rabbi Sacks was respected and beloved across the Jewish world. In R’ Mel Gottlieb’s words: R’ Sacks’s blend of Torah scholarship and academic acumen allowed him to speak to broad audiences and interfaith circles relating to the moral issues of our time and the unique charge of the Jewish people…His unique voice, novel and insightful ideas, personal warmth and charm will be sorely missed.
A Message of Hope
Last week, a friend quoted me in a blessing to his daughter on her bat mitzvah. He shared that I once said the following:
Hope is not naïve. It’s not some opiate to dull the pain of an oppressive reality. Hope may be the greatest act of defiance against a politics of pessimism and a culture of despair.
Happy Freedom Day
Today is Juneteenth, a day to celebrate the abolition of slavery and Black people’s fight for liberation in the United States. The day commemorates the date, more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, that enslaved people in Galveston Texas learned that slavery had been abolished.
Rabbi Sharon Brous’s Remarks to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin held a video conference with Jewish community leaders on what is currently going on in America and in Israel. Here are Rabbi Sharon Brous’s remarks.
Some Are Guilty, All Are Responsible
It has now been a week of rage, grief and trauma in the streets of our cities, following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. We are in the midst of a rebellion, an uprising against centuries of injustice. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, just over these past few months, reveal the normalization of hatred and fear of Black people in America, the danger of aggressive police action, and the profound need for a nation-wide reckoning with our painful history of racism.
Our Anguish Amidst a Growing Antisemitism
It was a difficult week for the Jewish community.
On Tuesday, we watched in anguish as the news unfolded of an antisemitic act of terror in a kosher market in Jersey City, committed by a radicalized member of the Black Hebrew Israelites. Six people died—once again pointing to the toxic and deadly combination of ideologies of hatred and easy access to weapons of war.
Hanukkah in a Time of Renewed Hatred
Hanukkah in a Time of Renewed Hatred: A Note From Our Rabbis
Our practice of Hanukkah is rooted in the story of the persecution of Jews for public displays of their Jewishness. We’ve been telling that story for generations, but in the relative safety of the United States, Hanukkah became a fun and festive celebration, complete with spinning dreidels, frying latkes and kitschy parody videos.
But this year, Hanukkah has frighteningly coincided with a spike in the antisemitic attacks that have been building over the past several years.
Anguished Hearts After Another Synagogue Attack
IKAR Rabbis & Leadership Respond to Tragic Poway Synagogue Shooting.
Rabbi Brous’ Statement – Christchurch NZ Mosque Shooting
“I ask God to give us all strength. And I ask us to see: raw hatred combined with the proliferation of deadly weapons will continue to unleash unthinkable human misery. God can weep with us, but only we—through acts of love and courage—can stop this madness.” – Rabbi Brous
Women’s March 2019: IKAR’s Statement
Rabbi Sharon Brous’ Remarks: Ebenezer Baptist Church – Election Eve Prayer Rally
“…There is a cancer wrapped around the spine of our nation. It is the cancer of white supremacy married to the cancer of patriarchy. These are the diseases that have festered and metastasized at the heart of our nation from its founding, that have demonized, dehumanized, demoralized and disenfranchised millions of people over hundreds of years. Its toxicity knows no bounds. If these illnesses are left unchecked, no one is safe. But there is hope. There is always hope. Because now we can finally see it. Now, millions have taken to the streets in protest. Now, people who never thought their voices mattered are showing up to canvas and vote and make their voices heard. Now, white folks in the suburbs are talking about voter suppression as the grave injustice it is. We now finally have the opportunity to treat the disease that plagues America.”
Rabbi Brous’ Statement at Tree of Life Vigil
“Our multifaith partners stand with us. And we stand with them.
Arm in arm, side by side, reclaiming—through our tears and our conviction—an America that treats every one of us with love, respect, and dignity.”
Rabbi Brous’ Statement After Terror in Pittsburgh
“Our grief and indignation have to fuel our moral imagination. We’re calling out the culture of hatred and America’s fanatical obsession with guns. We’ll harness our anger, fear and grief, and bring it all to the polls on Nov. 6.“
Rabbi Brous’ Remarks – Poor People’s Campaign, Washington DC
Poor People’s Campaign at the capitol in Washington DC -Bishop William Barber and Rabbi Sharon Brous and other moral leaders are preaching nonviolent direct action with multi-faith clergy and impacted communities. Read her remarks.
“Solidarity is not a choice to opt into or out of: our shared humanity links our destinies to one another. My liberation is contingent on yours; and yours, on mine.”
Rabbi Brous’ Reflection and Blessing at Legacy Museum Opening
Rabbi Brous offers reflection and blessing at opening of Equal Justice Initiative’s new Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, AL.
“Thank You, God, for protecting and strengthening Bryan Stevenson, and all those who have worked to transform blood drenched soil into holy ground, inscribing names and dates. Counties and states. Boldly telling whispered stories out loud.”
Rabbi Brous’ Jewish Case for Reparations
We can’t undo the past. But we can name it, take responsibility for it and do everything in our power to address what has been broken.
Rabbi Brous’ Response to President Trump’s Anti-Muslim Tweets
“We say today to the Muslim community: we meant it when we promised to use all of the spiritual, political and intellectual resources we possess to ally with and protect one another in these perilous times. YOU ARE SAFE HERE. We will wrap our arms of love and protection around you.”