The Society for Classical Reform Judaism expresses its sorrow in the face of the tragedy that has unfolded in Paris this past week. We join all people of conscience throughout the world in condemning the attacks on the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, the French police officers, and the victims at the Hyper Cacher supermarket, singled out for murder solely because they were Jews. Our hearts go out to their families and to all the people of France, of every faith and ethnicity.
In the face of the ongoing spread of violence and bigotry against our fellow Jews in France and throughout Europe, we stand in anguish and in solidarity. We pray for their safety and call upon the world’s leaders to forcefully confront the spread of anti-Semitism emerging from whatever source- both native political extremists as well as radical Islamists. At the same time, as fellow children of Abraham, we affirm our ties to the vast majority of Muslims who understand and live their religion as a force for peace and justice, and we seek to join with them in confronting and rooting out the forces of extremism and racism that corrupt all of our religious traditions and are the true examples of blasphemy.
As American Jews who embrace the historic liberal, universalistic ideals of the Classical Reform tradition, we stand in witness to the vital importance of a progressive, inclusive vision of religious commitment in the face of all expressions of narrow, rigid, fundamentalism.
We also particularly affirm our conviction that the destiny and mission of the Jewish People is to observe our faith and contribute our gifts to all of the cultures and societies in which we live as loyal, committed citizens. While we are deeply supportive of the role of the State of Israel as a center of Jewish life and a place of refuge for those of our brothers and sisters who suffer oppression and persecution in other lands, we believe that there must be strong, vital and secure Jewish communities throughout the world – particularly in the great historic centers such as France, which has had a thousand year history of Jewish life, learning and faith. We pray that the Jews of France, forcefully supported and protected by their government and fellow citizens, will choose to remain in their home country and bear witness to the victory of justice, human rights and democratic values over the dark forces of hatred and violence… and will continue to play a vital role in the distinctive heritage of culture, art and thought that has characterized France’s place in our civilization.
“Grant us Peace…Your most precious gift…O Eternal Source of Peace…”