Rabbi’s Statement on Islamophobia

Dear Friends:

And now, for something completely different. . . I am proud that the rabbis of Dutchess County are my friends and colleagues. Yesterday we released this statement to the media (see below) and it’ll be published in at least a few local and regional media outlets over the next week or so.

A Statement on Islamophobia by Rabbis in Dutchess County: 
It is the darkest time of the year, and many of us light lights.  We do so for religious reasons – light is a central theme in Hanukkah and Christmas – for practical purposes, so we do not stumble around in the dark. We kindle lights as a metaphorical ideal, because darkness is a symbol of ignorance and fear.  We can either choose to indulge in our worst human impulses, or choose to kindle a light and dispel the fears.

As rabbis and religious leaders in the mid-Hudson valley, we call upon all people in the region to resist the darkness of the soul, especially that which allow any group to become the target of demagogues and bigots. As Jews, we have had the experience of being new immigrants and of being a persecuted minority- as well as being barred from immigration because of baseless fears. Our history teaches us that no good can come of excluding, restricting, or monitoring a single religious or ethnic group. We urge this community and its leaders to continue to show solidarity and friendship towards our Muslim neighbors.

Rather than engage in cursing the darkness, we invite you to aspire to the better selves you have within you, and embrace the light that is the blessing of many diverse faiths in this season.

With prayers of peace for all people,

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz
Rabbi Kerry Chaplin
Rabbi Michael Fessler
Rabbi Paul Golomb
Rabbi Miriam Hyman
Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger
Rabbi Daniel Polish
Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek
Rabbi Daniel Victor

See local media coverage with comments from Rabbis Berkowitz and Victor here and here.

Feel free to post and share, and thank you.

More Torah commentary soon!

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1 Comment »

  1. muriel horowitz said

    So proud of the Rabbi’s of Dutchess County. Wonderful statement Also, did you see my letter to the editor printed on Monday. My humble two cents on the issue as well.
    I’m trying to figure out how to share this with non-facebook friends.

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