The rise of Islamophobia in our country is deeply troubling. All people who embrace American ideals should be troubled, speaking out and pushing back against this racism. Only those overwhelmed by fear or hatred can find the anti-Islamic message comforting. We Jews find this particularly problematic because our history is rife with persecution of the most horrific kinds.
The Jewish community, Klal Yisrael, is speaking out. All our denominations, all of our respected institutions are renouncing acts of hatred and its perpetrators. Whether it is the desecration of a mosque in Philadelphia or the vitriol of hate mongers, Jewish values do not abide the despicable acts that are eerily similar to those historically experienced by our people.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, The Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbinical Reconstructionist College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbinical Council of America and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Aleph (The Alliance for Jewish Renewal), just to name a few, have spoken against xenophobia and hatred. Our own Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia and our Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Jewish Community Relations Council under the leadership of Adam Kessler have also expressed support of the Moslem community in response to the mosque desecration in Philadelphia.
I am heartened as an American, as a Jew and as a Rabbi that we reaffirm our Jewish values at this time. Regardless of how we practice, our Judaism commands us to take this principled stand. Although Chanukah has concluded, the miracle of light continues to shine for all of us.