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Hanukkah 5776/2015

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association Condemns Anti-Muslim Hate Speech

This weekend, Jews all over the world will fully light their Hanukkah Menorahs, bringing light and brightness to an otherwise very dark time of year. This year, these candles hold added significance as we face a world that seems overshadowed by grief and despair. The recent attacks in San Bernardino, CA as well as Paris, Beirut, Israel and elsewhere are reminders of the darkness in our world.

But another aspect of darkness that concerns us tremendously is the rising backlash against our Muslim brothers and sisters, epitomized by reckless cries to bar Muslims from entering our country. Anti-Muslim rhetoric has become more and more extreme and commonplace in the media and in the public square. Our Muslim neighbors and friends live in fear of targeted violence, vandalism, vigilante harassment, and discrimination. These fears are not speculative; just this week a prominent mosque in Philadelphia was desecrated.

As Jews and as rabbis who understand the dangers of such rhetoric, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association denounces any language or actions that represent a wholesale denigration of any one faith or ethnicity. Such rhetoric was directed not so long ago against our own people, to horrific ends. As Jews who too often have suffered persecution because of our faith, we cannot abide religious bigotry. As Americans, we are keenly aware freedom from religious persecution is the foundation on which our country is built.

We call on all Jews and all Americans to denounce hate speech and fear-mongering against Muslims in politics and the media, and to reach out in support of Muslim Americans in every way that we can.

At this season, let us rededicate ourselves to the holy task of working together to bring more light into the world.

Rabbi Nina H. Mandel, President
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Executive Director



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