As joyous as the holiday is, it is also a time for serious reflection on the duties of a Jew toward their community, particularly in a post-Holocaust world.
The Holocaust is an important topic not only in Jewish history, but in the history of humankind. The topic is disturbing, and it is appropriate to feel uncomfortable and upset by the stories, the facts, and especially the images.
We are disheartened, concerned, but, alas, not surprised that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government today voted to “legalize” illegal Israeli settlements that are built on privately owned Palestinian land. This action makes more difficult the achievement of a two-state solution and significantly undermines Israeli democracy. It is a lose-lose policy.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest, most diverse Jewish movement in North America, launches a new online Introduction to Judaism class, filling a significant need in the North American community for individuals who want to explore liberal Judaism but have no in-person opportunities to study.
In response to the Senate’s vote to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. Attorney General, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the wider Reform Movement:
We are deeply disappointed by the Senate’s vote today to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. Attorney General. As a Movement that has worked for civil rights for over 50 years, we opposed Senator Sessions’ nomination because his record in public life displays an insufficient commitment to advancing voting rights, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, LGBTQ equality, women’s rights and religious liberty, all issues for which we would expect any Attorney General to be a champion.
"This is a critical moment. Never before have we opposed the nomination of a U.S. Ambassador. We do so now because of the imperative need for us to voice our concerns about this critically important appointment. Our statement comes from our deep love for Israel and our fear that longstanding bipartisan support for Israel hangs in the balance.”
In response to President Trump speaking out today for the first time against anti-Semitism, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the wider Reform Movement:
President Trump’s condemnation this morning of anti-Semitism is as welcome as it is overdue. Yesterday’s wave of bomb threats against JCCs nationwide, the fourth such wave in recent weeks, and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri, reflect the growing boldness of American anti-Semites. Such incidents cannot be ignored or dismissed as aberrations; they must be loudly and unequivocally condemned from all quarters.
President Trump has been inexcusably silent as this trend of anti-Semitism has continued and arguably accelerated. The President of the United States must always be a voice against hate and for the values of religious freedom and inclusion that are the nation’s highest ideals. We urge President Trump to continue to speak out against anti-Semitism as he did today and to apply the full weight of the executive branch’s powers behind the effort to hold accountable the perpetrators of such hatred.
The Wholly Jewish podcast from ReformJudaism.org explores what we all have in common as we live and balance complex and nuanced identities. It’s these varied identities that, when braided together, make us wholly ourselves – and “Wholly Jewish.”