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Letter to New York Times Regarding Antisemitic Cartoon

Endorsement

 

Reconstructing Judaism was a signatory to a letter that the the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) sent to the New York Times Executive Editor condemning the Antisemitic cartoon published on April 25, 2019, and urging tangible steps to ensure that such inflammatory material will not be published in the future.

Letter in support of the Never Again (Holocaust) Education Act

Endorsement

 

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among more than 300 organizations to support the Never Again Education Act (H.R. 943). The attached letter, sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, urges the swift passage of the bill, which uses public funding and private donations to provide teachers with resources and training on lessons of the Holocaust and the consequences of bigotry and hate.

Joint Letter Urging Secretary of State to Fill Anti-Semitism Special Envoy Position

Endorsement

 

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among the organizational signatories of a letter directed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to fill the vacant position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. 

National Jewish Group Letter supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act

Endorsement

 

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among the 55 national Jewish groups joining together in a letter to Senate leaders opposing the House-passed ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620), legislation which would turn back the clock on the civil rights of people with disabilities by weakening the 28-year old Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Statement by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association on Foregoing Annual High Holy Day Call with Trump

Endorsement

 

The RRA and America’s other leading rabbinic organizations have decided, in light of  President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville, so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred, that we cannot organize a rabbinic call with the president this year. 

Response to Charlottesville

News

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities condemns in the strongest terms the white supremacist groups that gathered in Charlottesville, VA, over the weekend to promote racism, anti-Semitism, and other ideologies of bigotry. Our hearts go out to the family of Heather Heyer, the anti-hate demonstrator who was killed in what has been accurately characterized by the U.S. Attorney General as an act of domestic terrorism, and to the families of the two Virginia State Troopers killed in a helicopter crash as part of efforts to manage the events surrounding the white supremacists’ assault on Charlottesville.

History has taught the painful consequences of ignoring violent white supremacists who target Jews, members of the LGBT community and people of color.  We stand with all political, religious, and community leaders of conscience to express revulsion at the actions and words of the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist groups that converged in Charlottesville.  Nothing less is appropriate for this moment in time.  There is no moral equivalence between the proponents of hatred and bigotry and those who stand up to oppose them.  We must work vigorously across communities to strengthen the vision of an America dedicated to diversity and equality, pluralism and mutual respect.

Reconstructionist Rabbis Mordechai Liebling and Malka Bina Klein joined with more than 50 other members of the clergy to protest the white supremacists.  For their reflections, see:

Public Letter on Anti-Muslim Marches

Endorsement

 

Reconstructionist leaders joined other faith leaders in a letter from Shoulder to Shoulder speaking out against anti-Muslim behavior. Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 32 religious denominations and organizations committed to standing with American Muslims to uphold American values.

Statement Following the Presidential Election

News

For many of us in the Reconstructionist movement, the results of this election have been hard. We see, with stark clarity, that our country is painfully divided. We recognize that many Americans are celebrating the feeling that they are finally being heard; so too, many are fearing that their voices will now be silenced. Those political divisions exist to some extent within our movement too, though it’s safe to say that the great majority of our membership is feeling shock, fear, and grief.
 
During this unusual campaign, we have objected to expressions of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and disrespect for people with disabilities. We believed then and believe now that it is incumbent upon all of us to speak out, as our prophets once did, against degradations and injustice. That said, we also want to underscore that we are prepared to move forward and partner with an administration that sets out on a course toward justice and love for all. It is our sincere hope that we will see very different words and actions now that the campaign rhetoric is behind us and the very real problems in need of solutions lie ahead of us. Needless to say, we will continue to stand up for the marginalized in society, as Jewish tradition teaches, and our resolve to redouble our efforts toward fixing a very broken world has only strengthened over the past days.
 
Foundational insights of Reconstructionism are that we live in two civilizations, the American and the Jewish, and that each of those civilizations can and should influence each other. Now is a time for the Jewish civilization to strongly influence the American civilization. Today, in our communities, there is much grief and fear—of what institutions and freedoms are at risk, and of what might happen next to our most vulnerable neighbors. To face these times, we must advance the bedrock of our most powerful Jewish values: Tzelem Elohim (we are all created in God’s image); Ki Gerim Hayitem (remember that you were strangers); Ahavah Rabbah (the expansive universal love we draw upon); and Tikkun Olam (repair of the world). And we remember the teaching from Genesis that we recently read in services - we are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
 
There has never been a more important time for progressive religious leadership, and we are already seeing that leadership take form through the determined grace and strength of Reconstructionist rabbis, educators, and lay people who are creating opportunities across the nation for people to gather to hug each other, cry together, sing together, and listen to each other. Please click on this link to see some of these resources.
 
We are members of religious communities because we believe a religious approach aids us in how to be most fully alive and most fully connected to the world around us. As Jews, community is central to our religious understanding. We need community to celebrate. We need community to grow. At this time, we need our communities to hold each other up and create a safe religious space for grief and healing. We also need our communities to safeguard the right of all members, regardless of political leanings, to continue to find in our congregations a respectful and spiritual home. And it is important for all of us, Jews and non-Jews alike, to hear and understand the pain expressed by many Trump supporters – a pain borne partly out of economic dislocation and resentment of elites and the status quo.
 
Hazak, hazak venithazek. Let us be strong, and strengthen each other.
 
L’shalom,

 

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
President
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and
Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
David Roberts
Chair, Board of Governors
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
 
Rabbi Nina Mandel
President
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Executive Director
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
 

Joint Letter on Racism, Xenophobia and Violence in 2016 Campaign

Endorsement

 

Joint letter from 28 Jewish groups imploring political candidates to put an end to the racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia that has emerged in this year’s campaign.

Statement Urging AIPAC to Rescind Donald Trump Invitation

News

 

Read the Forward’s coverage.

Check out JTA’s take

 

THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL

March 17, 2016 — The leadership of the Jewish Reconstructionist movement urges the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to rescind its invitation to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak at its annual gathering next week. At a minimum, we call on AIPAC to clearly affirm that Muslims are welcome in the United States and to condemn all racist statements. The AIPAC gathering, which is the largest annual gathering of American Jews, should not be a platform for espousing hateful rhetoric and racist policies.

We understand that AIPAC invited all presidential candidates and that an invitation is not an endorsement. However, when the values a candidate espouses are inimical to both the lessons of Jewish history and our Jewish ethical values, we must avoid any misunderstanding. This invitation confers an unwarranted legitimacy on Donald Trump’s positions, which include the outright banning of all Muslims from entering the United States.

If any significant organization invited a candidate who explicitly called for Jews to be banned from entering the United States, the entire Jewish community would demand that invitation be rescinded. Trump’s extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric is highly reminiscent of the rhetoric deployed against Jews who immigrated to the United States, and especially, against those who were turned away. The most oft-repeated statement in the Torah is, “Do not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in Egypt.” We know from history that once any group is targeted as a scapegoat, no group is safe.

We are commanded to intervene to stop the spilling of our neighbor’s blood. We ask AIPAC conference organizers to make a clear distinction, in whatever way possible, between Trump’s hate speech and the American Jewish community that AIPAC claims to represent. The majority of Americans—and this includes everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike—who care about Israel do not want to see Israel advocacy associated with the xenophobic rhetoric that Trump promotes. AIPAC’s repudiation of that rhetoric will express our highest ethical values as Jews and as Americans.

Rabbi Deborah Waxman
President

David Roberts
Chair, Board of Governors

Rabbi Nina Mandel
President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Executive Director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rabbi Joshua Lesser
Chair, Tikkun Olam Commission

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Director, Tikkun Olam Commission

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