New York, NY; August 31, 2020 - Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued the following statement:
On August 23rd, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, WI police officer. In that moment, Mr. Blake joined a painfully long list of generations of People of Color who have been victims of police brutality, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor whose lives were violently taken from them. Today, Jacob Blake lies in a hospital bed, partially paralyzed, he and his family (including his small children) undoubtedly traumatized and their lives forever changed.
The nation is convulsing, demanding an end to the centuries of systemic racism that contribute to racial injustices in our criminal justice system, including the disproportionate rates of police shootings of People of Color and Black men in particular. The rallies and marches in cities from coast to coast share a common message: Black Lives Matter. We agree unequivocally and add, as we have before, that Black Lives Matter is a Jewish value.
In this moment, our prayers are with Mr. Blake and his family as he begins a long road of physical and emotional recovery. Our hands are outstretched and ready to do the work necessary to end systemic racism. And our hearts are with all those in Kenosha, including Beth Hillel Temple and Rabbi Dena Feingold, who are working within the congregation and in interfaith coalitions of justice to address what is broken in their community and the nation at large. That sacred work of building relationships across lines of difference will be foundational as Beth Hillel Temple joins the broader Kenosha community in healing.
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 850 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
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