Responding to The Verdict

Photo from Rabbi Debra Rappaport in Minneapolis the day of the verdict

For the Floyd family, we hope that this week’s verdict will provide a measure of solace in the face of unimaginable, tragic loss. Even for those of us at a greater distance, the verdict gives us a chance to breathe a little more freely, to hope that we might yet manifest a more just and compassionate world. A world where Black lives are valued and we can find healing from the profound wounds of our history of slavery and ongoing systemic racism.

One verdict is not enough, just as one Black President was not enough, to undo centuries of harm. Or Shalom will continue to commit ourselves to the work of dismantling racism and white supremacy, and we pray that this moment can be a significant turning point for the good. I am proud to share that the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association recently passed a resolution in support of pursing reparations. You can read the full text here. You can support HR40, the bill calling for reparations currently in congress, by clicking here to join our friends in the Reform movement who have organized an easy tool to contact your representative.

I also wanted to share with you some words adapted from my friend and colleague, Rabbi Shawn Zevit:

As a Jewish people of many colors, cultures and backgrounds we know we cannot wait for justice to arrive on it’s own accord. “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof: Justice, Justice shall you pursue!”, declares our Torah. (And our Or Shalom T-shirts!)  For so many of us, being Jewish means actively pursuing and co-creating a just, inclusive and equitable world. That means working to eliminate racial injustice, systemic white supremacy and privilege in our own backyards and throughout this nation. We must also be willing to be present to and stand in solidarity with the grief, lament and rage of countless people of color in our country whose lives are at risk daily. We are grateful for and welcome the healing that this just verdict may provide- however, as the Mishnah Sanhedrin states, “Whoever destroys a life, it is as if they destroyed an entire world.” Until racially motivated killing, police misuse of power and gun violence are addressed- no true justice can be found in our gates.

May this moment bring us the strength, hope, and healing we need to continue the work of manifesting a world where every human being is treated with dignity and love.