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Black Lives Matter at Temple B'nai Torah

Black Lives Matter at Temple B’nai Torah
Our prophet Micah said “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”

Since the founding of our country, justice and mercy have been in very short supply for people of color within our criminal justice system, our schools, our electoral system and our government bodies. This is what we call institutional racism. It has been woven into the fabric of so many aspects of American life because when our nation’s founders spoke of all men being created equal, endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” they literally meant men, and not just men, but white men.

This is not justice. It is not mercy. And it is an affront to our God who created all people b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s own image.

Our tradition teaches us to work tirelessly for Tikkun Olam, the repair of the world. But our world is very broken right now and it isn’t good enough to say: we hear you, our Black brothers and sisters. Black Lives Matter. As Jews we must pray with our feet, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught us, and work for equality and justice.

Our country is in mourning for George Floyd. But Mr. Floyd was just the latest victim of a criminal justice system that criminally abuses Black people, because of the color of their skin. Being held to the ground and suffocated for either knowingly or unknowingly passing a counterfeit $20 is not justice. It is murder. We, the Jewish community of Temple B’nai Torah, stand with Black Lives Matter in calling for justice for George Floyd and the scores of other black Americans who were denied due process and their inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I know we are all horrified by what happened to George Floyd. I pray you are horrified enough to learn more about institutional racism and to do something about it. We need to take action now as a community and as individuals, because Black Lives Matter and we as Jews have a responsibility to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly, side-by-side with our brothers and sisters of color, with our God.

In love and solidarity,

Rabbi Sydney Danziger