New York, NY, October 8, 2010 In response to the spate of recent suicides, including that of Tyler Clementi, related to homophobic bullying, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We at the Union for Reform Judaism are deeply saddened by the loss of these young lives. These tragedies underscore the dangerous consequences of bullying in general and ongoing public insensitivity to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The Union encourages every congregation and school to create an anti-bullying program that addresses both sexual orientation and gender identity. We must not stand idly by and wait for the next tragedy to occur. We must protect our children against the virtual and viral bullying, teasing and harassment that have become an epidemic in our society. Tyler Clementi's death shall not be in vain. We must teach our children that each of us is created b'tselem Elohim, in the image of God.
The Union's resources on bullying about all issues, harassment and sexuality created for congregations, teens and parents are available at www.urj.org/lgbt. These materials, already being used by congregations throughout North America, are grounded in Jewish texts and tradition and include information on dealing with virtual and viral bullying, a primer for LBGT inclusion in Jewish communities, an anti-bullying pledge, information on Help Lines, programmatic resources, advocacy initiatives and more. Please check back often as this page is updated regularly.
We hope these resources will help ensure that no child is ever again bullied to death.