WASHINGTON (JTA) – An array of Jewish groups representing every major religious stream in the United States has declared this coming Shabbat one of solidarity with the African American community in the wake of the Charleston, S.C. mass killing.
A release Tuesday including among its signatories representative groups of the Conservative, Reform, Orthodox and Reconstructionist streams “to speak out in synagogues this coming Shabbat on the issue of racism in society and to express rejection of hateful extremism” and to demonstrate support for African Methodist Episcopal churches in their neighbourhoods.
On the evening of June 17, a gunman shot dead nine worshippers at Emanuel AME in Charleston. The suspect in the shooting, who is in police custody, is allegedly a white supremacist.
“We stand together, as a united American Jewish community in calling for a Shabbat of important introspection and examination of racism in the United States,” Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Md., said in the statement. “We hope to convey our support to the African-American community nationwide and show all that we will not stand for violent acts driven by hatred.”
Weinblatt convened the coalition of groups and is also the president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America, which is also part of the initiative.
Joining the call, in addition to umbrella bodies representing the various religious streams, are the American Jewish Committee; Hillel, an umbrella body for campus student groups; and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for Jewish public policy groups and Jewish community relations councils.