Rabbi Tom Gutherzis a native of Cleveland, OH and grew up in Rochester, NY. He was a member of Kibbutz Gezer in Israel from 1984-1989, where he worked in preschool and primary school education and as a dairy farmer. He was ordained in 1993 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and has since served as rabbi of Agudath Sholom Congregation in Lynchburg, VA, where he also taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of Religion at Lynchburg College. Since 2005, he has served Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA, first as rabbi educator and now as its senior rabbi. He is engaged in interfaith and social action work through IMPACT and the Charlottesville Clergy Collective. Rabbi Gutherz was married to the late Carmi Weiner for 35 years, and they have three children: Ilan, David, and Tamar.
I write this as the Sines vs. Kessler trial commences. This long-awaited lawsuit seeks to hold the organizers of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally accountable for their actions. Bone-chilling evidence will be presented in this trial that will make us realize how close we came to experiencing an even greater tragedy than the death of Heather Heyer and the wounding of so many others.
Many white Jews were raised to believe that America was a kind of promised land, where mass public demonstrations of hatred towards Jews was a thing of the past. Then came August 12, 2017, the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA.