PROMINENT RABBIS AND JEWISH LEADERS CALL FOR SYRIA STRIKE
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Prominent American rabbis and Jewish leaders from the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative denominations of Judaism petitioned Congress on Tuesday to authorize presidential use of force in response to the recent chemical attacks in Syria. Evoking memories of the Holocaust, the rabbis stated that Congressional approval would deter enablers of atrocity and save thousands of lives.
Signatories to the petition included Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Yosef Blau, a rabbinic leader of Yeshiva University; prominent Jewish history professor Jonathan Sarna; popular Conservative leader Rabbi David Wolpe; renowned lecturer and author Rabbi Joseph Telushkin; and Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Regardless of politics or denomination, the Jewish community has an instinctive response when we see that hundreds of children have been gassed to death. That response is one of sympathy and a desire to protect the innocent. That response is in our DNA.
This petition (below) was drafted yesterday to the United States Congress and is now spreading throughout the Jewish community. Please consider reading it and signing on.
Dear Congressional Leaders,
We write you as descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees, whose ancestors were gassed to death in concentration camps. We write you as a people who have faced persecution for many centuries, and are glad to have found a safe refuge where we can thrive in the United States. We write as a people proud of our religious and historical tradition of helping the needy and defending the weak.
The recent chemical weapons attacks on the Damascus suburbs constitute a serious crime against humanity. These attacks killed upwards of 1400 people, the majority of them innocent women and children. As a people who themselves once faced the horrors of genocide and survived, we had hoped that we would never again open our newspapers to images of mass graves filled with suffocated young children. Now that we have seen such images coming from Syria, we call upon you to act.
Intelligence assessments from the U.S., U.K. France, Israel, Turkey, the Arab League, and many other allies all show conclusively that the Assad regime was responsible for the horrific chemical attacks of August 21st. We fear that if this attack passes without a decisive response, we might open our newspapers to more images of mass graves from Syria – and elsewhere — in the near future. We have learned from our own history that inaction and silence are the greatest enablers of human atrocity.
For this reason, we call upon you with great urgency to authorize the President to use force in Syria “in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction,” as outlined in his August 31st draft legislation. Through this act, Congress has the capacity to save thousands of lives.
These are the Days of Awe for the Jewish people. In one of the climactic moments of our High Holiday prayers, we read “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who will pass and who will be created, who will live and who will die, who in his time and who before his time.” May this coming year be one of life and creation the world over, in which we cease to witness the deaths of so many innocent human beings.
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Founder & President, Uri L’Tzedek
Rabbi Avi Weiss, Founder & President-Emeritus, YCT Rabbinical School (Yeshivat Chovevei Torah)
Rabbi Yosef Blau, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva University
Professor Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University
Rabbi David Wolpe, Senior Rabbi, Sinai Temple
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President- Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President, RCA (Rabbinical Council of America)
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Rabbi Jason Herman, Director, IRF (International Rabbinic Fellowship)
Institutions are for affiliation purposes only.