Jewish Statement of Support for Black Lives and Racial Justice
In response to ongoing acts of violence and brutality against Black people in the United States, we stand in solidarity with Black Wellesley students and alumnae. We honor your pain, your activism, your exhaustion, and your courage. Jewish tradition teaches that “Whoever destroys one life has destroyed an entire world.” Centuries of systemic racism — and the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade — have destroyed worlds of humanity.
In the midst of COVID-19, a pandemic that has taken a disproportionate toll on the health and economic security of communities of Color, we cannot allow racist violence and anti-Black discrimination to persist.
Jews are a multiracial people, and pursuing justice is a fundamental tenet of Judaism. The history of Jewish participation in resistance movements around the globe inspires us to take action for racial justice today. In the words of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
We applaud President Johnson’s call for moral leadership and we urge our Jewish siblings and alumnae to take action:
- Check in with your Black friends, colleagues, and acquaintances — including Black Jews and Jews in multiracial families — and ask them what they need.
- Urge your synagogues, local Jewish organizations, and the broader Jewish community to publicly voice their support for Black lives.
- Give tzedakah to Black-led efforts to resist police brutality, ensure the safety of protesters, and to promote racial justice.
- Educate yourselves and your families about the Jewish imperative to advance equality, justice, and dignity for Black Americans and People of Color.
- Organize conversations at your local Jewish institutions — including schools, synagogues, and JCCs — about how to raise anti-racist Jewish children.
Together, we vow to work for a world in which the Jewish value of b’tzelem elohim — the idea that every human being is created in the image of God and deserves dignity — becomes a reality for all.
Written by: Jordan Namerow ‘05, Hannah Ellenson ‘08, Rabbi Rachel Isaacs ‘05