The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — expresses great concern over the tragic rise of anti-Semitism. The recent Jersey City massacre at a Kosher market claiming the lives of Detective Joseph Seals, Miguel Douglas, Moshe Hersh Deutsch and Leah Mindel Ferencz, all of blessed memory, continuing a chain of anti-Semitic attacks across the country, raises concerns about how hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism are currently addressed in the United States.
This cold act of terror is among the worst and deadliest terrorist acts carried out against Jews on American soil. G-d forbid, had these despicable, cowardly terrorists succeeded in detonating a pipe bomb they had assembled, the carnage would have been even worse. What raises great concerns, in addition to the human tragedy, is that the terror attack initially attracted little media and public attention. Even though the evidence demonstrates the stark reality that this was a targeted anti-Semitic act of terrorism, it hardly appears to be on the mind and conscience of the American public.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, stated, “As rabbis, we sense that the relative silence outside of the Jewish community — the lack of outrage, shock and anger over the Jersey City massacre — may be related to it not fitting into a neat political narrative. For generations, American Jews felt more secure in the United States than in most parts of the world. As a child and grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I proudly recall how grateful my parents and grandparents and their friends were to the United States of America as a nation of kindness and just laws. They recognized that this great country is a democracy that permits Jews to express their Judaism proudly without the fear of reprisals or repercussions. As an adult, I still hold that to be true, that there is no better country than the United States, and I pray regularly that the Almighty watch over and protect this great republic that stands for freedom, democracy and liberty. As Jewish Americans, we feel that we are part of the natural multiethnic and multicultural mosaic and fabric of the United States. For decades, Jewish institutions in the United States never needed special protection. Sadly, due to external, non-governmental reasons, the feeling of safety has ceased.
“This changed reality has hit us in the hardest way. In response, we must act in the way we want to be treated, demonstrate the neighborly love that this country needs. We each need to do our part to return this country to the sense of security for people of all nationalities, colors and creeds. No one should fear that their life is threatened due to their background. On an individual and communal level, we need to show fairness for all, because by changing ourselves we can change the world.
“We dare not allow the fight against hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism to become a partisan issue. This is a human issue, and must transcend party affiliation. The Rabbinical Alliance of America calls on all elected government officials, as well as law enforcement, to lead the way in creating an environment full of respect and fairness. Attitudes, demeanor and respect matter. The RAA also calls on the media to promote good citizenship and highlight acts of kindness and mutual respect. The media plays such an important role in setting the cultural tone and it must fill that role responsibly.
“Most Americans are decent, good, and hardworking respectful people. Our job is to unite and join together in a spirit of respect. The antidote to hate and bigotry is simple respect. If we each do our part in modeling the world in which we want to live, we can rid our country of hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism.
“As Americans we owe it to our nation to ensure that the United States of America remains a beacon of hope, liberty and freedom, one nation under G-d for future generations to come.”
May He who makes peace in His Heavens make peace on this earth. May the Lord inspire all those with hate to see their error in their ways and may they channel their negative energy into positive energy and make this world a better place for all.