"We Will Not Cower in Fear"

Inside Leadership

"We Will Not Cower in Fear"

Rabbi Rick Jacobs speaking at a podium before a rally with a sign that reads NO HATE NO FEAR
Photo: Theo Hansen

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before attendees at the NYC Solidarity March and Rally on Jan. 5, 2020, before Rabbi Jacobs and his rabbinic colleagues offered Psalm 121 and 130.

Throughout Jewish history, in every place where we Jews have lived we have turned to Psalms or Tehillim to express the deepest yearnings of our hearts.

Before you today are rabbis from across the spectrum of Jewish belief and practice. We don’t all believe, practice, and think alike but today we stand as one. My colleagues and I stand united in our love for all of our people from Monsey to Jersey City to Crown Heights and beyond.

Previously, when Jews were victims of murderous antisemitic attacks, it was rare for anyone to stand with us or around us. Today, look around and take in the deep solidarity with our interfaith partners and all those who’ve come today to take a stand against antisemitism. Sacred allyship means, of course, that we will continue to show up for our interfaith siblings in their times of danger and vulnerability.

The Psalms we are about to recite have sustained our people in times of danger. We proudly and publicly offer these psalms now. We will not cower in fear or allow our Judaism to be defensive or meek.

Mi'ma'amakim karati

Out of the depths we cry out to you, O God.

Esa Einai el he'harim

We raise our sights to the mountains and lift our gaze to the world as it ought to be,

a world God commands us to create, a world where respect and love live in every human heart.

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest Jewish movement in North America, with almost 850 congregations and nearly 1.5 million members. An innovative thought leader, dynamic visionary, and representative of progressive Judaism, he spent 20 years as the spiritual leader of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY. Deeply dedicated to global social justice issues, he has led disaster response efforts in Haiti and Darfur. Learn more about Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

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