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Statement Against the Assault on the Capitol

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

יָדוֹ פָּרַשׂ צָר עַל כָּל־מַחֲמַדֶּיהָ כִּֽי־רָאֲתָה גוֹיִם בָּאוּ מִקְדָּשָׁהּ... עַל־אֵלֶּה אֲנִי בוֹכִיָּה
“Yado paras tzar al kol-machamadeha, ki ra’atah goyim ba’u mikdashah… Al eleh ani bochiyah
They have lain their hands on everything dear to her.  She has seen her Sanctuary invaded…
For such things do I weep” (Lamentations 1:10, 1:16).

This is a sad day for all of America.

As Jews, we know what it means to build and sustain institutions:  Value systems, legal systems, foundational buildings that symbolize so much more than their bricks and mortar.  These institutions are designed to transcend any single moment or person or political stance.  We rely on these institutions and systems to help us see ourselves, our individual opinions, and our personal benefit or loss as small in comparison to the timelessness of our shared underlying, bedrock ideals.

We believe that such timeless institutions are not infallible, and that they must evolve with care and process.  We believe that part of this gradual growth is peaceful and purposeful protest against injustices.  That said, when such institutions, laws, and values are under violent assault, when the diverse collection of representatives entrusted to sustain these institutions are under threat – especially when engaged in the work of democracy – we have reached an intolerable level of division, discord, and even sedition.

As our seminal document of American values and origins, the Constitution both assumes and demands a peaceful transition of power, regardless of who wins or loses.  With few historical exceptions until today, this reassurance has provided exemplary strength and stability, as a beacon for all nations who aspire to a just and stable society.  We must not abide the seeds of doubt and incitement that have been sown against this basic assurance – an illegal violence sparked from both the grassroots, and the highest levels of government. 

Historically, we know that when nations devolve into such chaos, the comfort and security of our Jewish and our fellow minority communities residing in those nations is often soon to be undermined. 

Let us pray that our timeless values as Americans and as Jews may weather this dark moment.  Once the dust settles on today’s onslaught, disruption, and ruin against our cherished American institutions and symbols – that rising from this ruin will be an enduring faith:  We will rebuild and re-affirm the sacred principles of liberty and justice for all, that have long been the pride and glory of our country.

יְהִֽי־שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָֽיִךְ
Yehi shalom b’cheilech, shalva b’arm’notayich”
“May there be well-being and wholeness within our walls, peace in our citadels” (Psalms 122:7).

Keyn yehi ratzon – So may it be God’s will – and OUR collective will.  Amen.

Mon, October 18 2021 12 Cheshvan 5782