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A message from the Shaare Emeth clergy on yesterday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol

Posted on January 7, 2021 by

Dear friends,

In reflecting upon the events of a long and disturbing day, we are almost without words. Never in our lifetimes could we have thought that we would witness an attack on the United States Capitol by domestic terrorists. At the same time, we are not surprised. After being baited and encouraged by the President of the United States to “stand back and stand by;” after hearing many elected officials (including Missouri’s Senator Hawley) refusing to accept the results of a fair and impartial election – results which have been verified by both election officials and the courts; after circulating conspiracy theories and lies within their own echo chambers, the perpetrators of today’s violent and deadly assault on the seat of our nation’s democracy did the inevitable.

These were not protestors. They were, as Senator Mitt Romney described them, insurrectionists, and those who directly and indirectly encouraged their behavior are being called traitors to our nation and to the values that America aspires. Their intent was to disrupt a peaceful transition of power, and thankfully, in the end they failed. However, their actions remind us that we have much work to do as individuals, as Reform Jews, and as a nation to overcome fear, to dismantle the white supremacist foundations upon which this country was built and to truly value the lives and rights of all people, regardless of gender, race or religion.

This was a dark day in America, to be sure. But it was also the day upon which Jon Ossoff, a Jewish American, and Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor, were elected to the United States Senate. Regardless of one’s political associations, this was a victory for diversity and for the changing face of America. In his victory speech, Rev. Warnock quoted from Psalm 30: “We may lie down weeping at nightfall, but joy comes in the morning.”

There may well be more dark nights ahead for our country, but we believe in the power of the American people to overcome that which divides us. We believe in the power of our faith and values, and the power of our Shaare Emeth community to continue to care for one another as we work on repairing our broken world. May our hope in a brighter future sustain us and may God bring blessings of courage, safety and joy to us all.


Rabbi Jim Bennett
Rabbi Andrea Goldstein
Cantor Seth Warner
Rabbi Lori Levine
Rabbi Rachel Bearman
Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey Stiffman

You can read statements about today’s events from our Reform Movement by clicking on the links below:

Central Conference of American Rabbis: Click HERE

Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and the Reform Movement: Click HERE

Finally, we offer you a prayer for our nation in this difficult time from Siddur Lev Shalem:

Our God and God of our ancestors, grant to our country the will and wherewithal to fulfill its calling to justice, liberty, and equality.

May each of us fulfill our responsibilities of citizenship with care, generosity, and gratitude, ever conscious of the extraordinary blessing of freedom, ever mindful of our duties to one another. Bless those who volunteer to labor on behalf of us all; may they find the strength and courage to complete their tasks and fulfill their dreams.

May our judges, elected leaders, and all who hold public office exercise their responsibilities with wisdom, fairness, and justice for all. Fill them with love and kindness, and bless them that they may walk with integrity on the paths of peace and righteousness.

Creator and protector of all, watch over our armed forces and all those entrusted with our safety, as they daily put their lives at risk to protect us and our freedoms. Be with them in times of danger; give them courage to act with honor and dignity, as well as insight to do what is right in Your eyes.

Fill us all with the gifts of love and courage, that we may create a world that reflects Your glory. May we each respond to the charge of Your prophet, “For what does Adonai demand of You— but to act justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with Your God” (Micah 6:8). May the one who brings peace on high bring peace and prosperity to our world and keep us in safety. And let us say: Amen.

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