As the Cleveland Board of Rabbis, we issue the following statement against systemic racism and the unjust treatment and persecution of African Americans.
We stand bereft alongside our African American brothers and sisters. The tragic death of George Floyd has only magnified the fight for equal justice that has long been unfulfilled. Now, it is time to do the work. We are living in a pivotal moment in time when we must lift up our voices. Hearkening to the words of our sacred scriptures, “tzedek, tzedek tirdof – justice, justice shall you pursue,” we pledge to use our privilege and our pulpits to do more.
In this moment of urgency, we must take action to rectify the systemic injustices in our country. We must take concrete steps to prevent the egregious acts of violence perpetuated against Black and brown people. We will leverage our strong communal relationships to advocate for criminal justice reform, equal housing, fair wages and quality education for people of color – and we must vote our principles.
Our institutions must give expression to the Jewish values we hold dear. Psalms teaches that “righteousness and justice” are the base of God’s throne. We must hold our lawmakers and public officials accountable to these same principles. We must hold our community accountable in order to bring wholeness and healing to our nation.
As rabbis, we are privileged to carry out our sacred traditions in Torah learning and humble praise of our Eternal God. We must equally fulfill these precepts with the mandate to bring justice to our world.
The Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis
Rabbi Melinda M. Mersack, President
Rabbi Scott B. Roland, Vice President
Rabbi Josh Foster, Secretary
Rabbi Enid C. Lader, Treasurer
Rabbi Allison B. Vann, Immediate Past President