A Statement in Response to a Hate Crime

As religious leaders in the City of Summit, we are proud of the way that our diverse community came together recently in response to a natural disaster.  It was a powerful reminder that caring for our fellow human beings is a principle that unites us all.

Sadly, a recent act of vandalism here in Summit—the painting of a swastika on private property—reminds us that we are often quick to forget the humanity of those who may be of different religions or backgrounds. Whatever the motivation behind the act, it was a crude message of bigotry, and alien to the kind of welcoming and diverse community Summit seeks to be.

We believe that each human being, as a child of God, is entitled to be treated with respect, dignity, and understanding.

We believe that the ethical teachings of our common heritage are totally incompatible with any actions or words that injure other human beings because of their differences.

We believe that all people of good will in our community are called to demonstrate more love for those who are different from themselves, to pursue deeper understanding of faith traditions other than their own, and to express greater gratitude for the blessing of diversity.

We, the Summit Interfaith Council, pledge to realize this vision among ourselves, and to help our community become more welcoming to all, inspired by these words:  “Have we not all one Creator? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)

About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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