In the Wake of Another Antisemitic Assault
2 Tevet 5780 / December 30, 2019
When the Jews are in trouble, a person should not say, “I will go to my home, eat, drink, and be at peace with myself.”
—Talmud, Ta’anit 11a
With profound and conflicting feelings of grief, outrage, and unease, the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis shares our sorrow over the act of domestic terror in Monsey, NY, on the seventh night of Chanukah.
The perpetual wave of antisemitic attacks in the past three years has challenged all of us to ask anew questions about our security and well-being. Whether the acts were perpetrated by lone assailants, as in Monsey; white supremacists, as in Pittsburgh; or Black Hebrew Israelites, as in Jersey City; ideologies of hate inevitably direct their rage at the Jewish community. The near-daily reports of assaults on Jews remind us: an attack on any of us is an attack on the entire Jewish People.
Today there are many forces straining to pull apart the threads of our communal tapestry. As ever, our task is to remain vigilant and stand alongside one another. We join with all our Jewish sisters and brothers, and with all people of good faith who oppose these surges of hatred, bigotry, and violence. In the wake of Monsey, we have drawn some inspiration and comfort from the reports of communitywide Menorah-lightings, as well as messages of support from our neighbors of many faith traditions. These should remind us all that hope, not fear, ultimately wins out.
More than ever, we are reminded of our twin tasks as leaders in times of crisis. The first is to embrace the Jewish community in all of its diversity as One People. The second is to seek out our neighbors beyond the Jewish community, to sustain alliances of justice and cooperation.
At such a disturbing moment in our history, MBR will continue to provide forums for rabbis of all our respective movements to come together for strength and collegial support. We will perpetually be a Jewish voice of justice, peace, and unity in the face of hate.
One message of Chanukah is that any one of us can bring light to a dark and foreboding world. As the Chanukah lights of 5780 fade for another year, it’s again up to us in our communities to perpetually kindle the lights of hope and unity.
The MBR Executive Board:
Rabbi Neal Gold, President
Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow
Rabbi Ron Fish
Rabbi Allison Berry
Rabbi Alison Adler
Rabbi Navah Levine
Rabbi Victor Reinstein
Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Past President