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Statement in the Aftermath of Charlottesville

When hatred and intolerance appear in our midst, we have an obligation to name it clearly and unambiguously. We have an obligation to use language to clarify, not to obfuscate. We have an obligation to take action. 

The organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12 included America’s leading neo-Nazi, white-supremacist, KKK, and Alt-RIght organizations. It can hardly be surprising that the rally ended in violence. 

On August 12, a white-supremacist activist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed Heather Heyer and injured nineteen others in an act of terrorism. Two Virginia state troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed as they were flying to assist with security. 

We cannot equivocate. Hatred was the root cause of the violence and murder. President Trump’s statement equating the rally’s racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic leaders with the counter-protestors is unacceptable. 

We join with a broad range of Rhode Islanders who embrace the American values of liberty and justice for all. Together, we work in coalition to send the clear message: Hate has no place here. 

As a community, Jews know what happens when hatred goes unchallenged. Our history is a lesson to the world that when a society stands indifferent to the message that some people are inherently inferior and undesirable – Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and so on – hatred and fear will become tools to manipulate the masses. 

We must never allow that to happen again. We join with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island in the message that we must “dismantle hate—be it through education, advocacy, public forums, or the sharing of expertise and funding.” We ask other people of conscience to join in that effort. 

Rabbi Sarah Mack 
Rabbi Jeffrey Goldwasser 

Rabbi Ethan Adler
Rabbi Michelle Dardashti
Rabbi Barry Dolinger
Rabbi Mark Elber
Rabbi Alan Flam
Rabbi Wayne Franklin
Rabbi Leslie Gutterman
Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer
Rabbi Andrew Klein
Rabbi Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus
Rabbi Benjamin Lefkowitz
Rabbi Richard Perlman
Rabbi James B. Rosenberg
Rabbi Gavi Ruit
Rabbi Jacqueline R. Satlow
Rabbi Lawrence Silverman
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman
Rabbi Alex Weissman
Rabbi Rachel Zerin
for the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island

Thu, September 21 2017 1 Tishrei 5778