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Statement on Summer 2015 Violence in Israel

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Dear friends,
On the heels of Shabbat Nachamu, there are no words of comfort in response to last week’s painful events in Israel—the knife attack on the Jerusalem LGBTQ parade that injured five and left 16-year old Shira Banki dead, and the deadly arson attack on a Palestinian family that killed Ali Saad Dawabshe, a toddler, and left the rest of his family severely burned.  There may ultimately be words of analysis that political scientists or diplomats offer and there should be words of legislation by politicians. 
But for all of us who believe that democracy and Judaism can flourish together in Israel, there are actions that we must take.  Both of these deadly attacks were perpetrated by Jews believing they were enacting legitimate expressions of Judaism.  We must repudiate such interpretations and demonstrate that the Judaism we know does not allow for such actions.
We must make it clear that a vital Jewish future countenances freedom of expression of all different kinds of Jewish life, and does not tolerate violence either in action or in words.  We must insist that Jewish values are co-equal with a rule of law that protects the tzelem Elohim – the image of God – in every human being, and that state apparatuses enforce these laws equally, especially in protection of minorities or the “other.”  We must work to fuse democracy and Judaism.
We can act by:

  • Reciting kaddish for all the victims, demonstrating our legitimate claim on this ancient prayer and our insistence on the value of lives and deaths of all humans.
  • Remembering in our mi sheberach the people injured in the terror attack at the Pride parade, as well as the injured members of Ali Dawabshe’s family. 
  • Supporting organizations working to foster civil society in Israel.


Rabbi Deborah Waxman, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/ Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
David Roberts, Chair, Board of Governors
Rabbi Nina Mandel, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, Interim Executive Director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Jonathan Kligler, Chair, Israel Task Force

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