The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—supports the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (“COLPA”) Amicus Curiae brief in support of Yeshiva University’s emergency petition to the United States Supreme Court to protect the school’s religious liberty. New York State courts have ordered the university to grant formal recognition to a student club that the university’s leading rabbis consider religiously forbidden, thereby violating the school’s constitutionally protected religious liberty.
It is an ominous day when officials of the United States government order a Jewish institution to violate its religion. No government agency or judiciary has the right to determine what Judaism allows or does not allow, nor to decide that Jews must violate their firmly held religious convictions. This country was settled by people fleeing religious persecution and was populated by millions of immigrants who were, and continue to be, attracted to this foundational right of religious freedom. For two thousand years, Jews lived as second class citizens in exile, suffering religious discrimination and persecution. We hope and pray that the United States is different, that this great country will protect, rather than violate, religious freedom. The U.S. Supreme Court must overturn this odious order that violates this sacred right. If it fails to do so, a dark shadow will be cast on religious institutions across the country.
It has long been a privilege to be a citizen of the United States. In this country, Jews and members of other minority religions have experienced unprecedented freedom from persecution, allowing our religious communities to thrive and form the backbone of this great country. This contrast was seen vividly in the twentieth century, when the Soviet Union so wickedly persecuted religious Jews while the United States enabled Jewish communities to flourish. The First Amendment is the protective canopy of religious communities, preventing the tyranny of anti-religious legislation. It is of utmost importance that this protection remain firmly in place, that Jews not be forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs.
We hope and pray that our nation’s highest court will protect the religious liberty issues that are central to this case and permit Jewish institutions to continue functioning in accordance with their sacred belief systems.