We Are a Stronger Community by Not Avoiding the Toughest Conversations

Tags: Federation, Family, Holidays, Shabbat & Holidays

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“We have got to do more.”

Those were the words that our Board Chair J. David Heller and our Community Relations Committee Chair Gregg A. Levine used to start the Federation’s recent statement regarding the systemic racism that has long poisoned our nation.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught us that “morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” With glaring clarity, the video of George Floyd’s murder brought into each of our homes the injustice and racism that Black people and all people of color – have had to live with for generations.

Since I first saw the horrific images captured on video, I have been listening closely and grieving. I am listening to stories of how people live and endure. I feel great empathy and, at the same time, I am inspired by the strength of many who have been able to lead and support others despite difficult circumstances. And, I am grieving for every parent who worries when their child leaves their home – wondering how they will be treated or mistreated.

I know that there are some in Jewish Cleveland who did not like the statement we issued on this matter or that we issued a statement at all. We won’t always agree on things, but we are a stronger community by not avoiding the toughest conversations. So, thank you to all of you who shared your thoughts with David, Gregg, and me for being part of this important conversation.

This past January (exactly five months ago today), over 100 of us marched in the No Hate, No Fear march against anti-Semitism in New York City. As Jewish Cleveland, we were loud and proud and showed the world that our community is stronger than hate. We know from experience that when you add one voice to another voice to another voice – that those voices are louder and stronger together. We also know from history that none of us will be truly safe until all forms of hate are eradicated.

Stay healthy and stay in touch.

Shabbat Shalom,

Erika B. Rudin-Luria, president

P.S. Please join our community on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 pm for a special, interfaith discussion with Reverend Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and Rabbi Jonathan Cohen program called Rise Up!. To learn more and register for this program, please visit www.maltzmuseum.org/riseup.

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