Reform Jewish Leaders "Outraged" At Reports Of Attacks Against Arab Americans And Muslim Americans

"We must not allow this attack on America to divide Americans."

by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie and Rabbi David Saperstein

September 13 (NEW YORK, NY)-Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, today released the following statement concerning reports of attacks on Arab Americans and Muslim Americans individuals and institutions.

The full text of the statement follows:

Together with all Americans, we are still in shock, reeling from the devastation of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

At times such as these--and we pray that there will no more such times--it is especially important that we behave with deliberation, lest trauma distort our actions. Specifically, we need to bear in mind that this conflict is between the United States and those who would see our way of life destroyed. It is not between some Americans and others. We must not allow this attack on America to divide Americans

We are concerned, in particular, with reports that some in our nation have directed their understandable anger at Tuesday's carnage at individual Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. We are outraged at reports of attacks on Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and their mosques and businesses and condemn all such acts of lawlessness. Such attacks, such scapegoating, are deeply un-American. They also violate what is perhaps a preeminent lesson of Jewish history--the danger of group hatred, of imputing to a group the actions of a few individuals.

We know that like all Americans, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans overwhelming share our revulsion at the terrorist attacks, and our commitment to American values. We know that they, too, have family and friends injured or killed in the attacks, and our condolences go out to them, as to all who are grieving.

On Tuesday, evil was evident, but humanity will prevail. Since Tuesday, we have witnessed a remarkable outpouring of human kindness, as Americans instinctively insist that evil's victory would be limited and that we would not permit inhumanity to prevail. We believe, deeply and stubbornly, that goodness and kindness are more powerful than cruelty. We therefore call on all Americans in their interpersonal dealings, and especially in dealing with those rendered particularly vulnerable by these events, to be fully American--to act with kindness and with courtesy, to seek to express, as Lincoln put it, "the better angels of our nature."

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The Union of American Hebrew Congregationsis the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, representing over 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 congregations. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programming, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.