As Jewish clergy of the Lehigh Valley, we are appalled by what has transpired in our country this past week. Once again a man of color has been murdered by law enforcement. We need to continue to address structural racism and police reform in the United States swiftly, justly, and equitably.
We must address all issues of racism and xenophobia and as a country begin the process of unifying our nation under one principle of justice that recognizes all humans as created in the image of God and deserving of equal treatment. As we face the next week let us pray that all the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd be brought to justice.
We must also remember that there are Jews of color in our communities who are affected by the systemic racism in our society, as well as by antisemitism. They must not be forgotten or ignored. We must all stand together, for we are one.
We also expect that all who have broken the law through theft and property damage be held accountable. We are deeply troubled by those who have exploited this crisis to loot and burn our cities and divert attention from the crucial issues of police brutality and racism. The Jewish ethical principle of Bal Tashchit condemns all forms of senseless damage to property. It can never be justified.
One of our central tenets is that all people are created in the image of God so within us is an element of the Divine. We have a sacred obligation to listen attentively to the voices of the suffering. We must work to bring about the time when there is justice and equality for all.