Dear Rabbinical Students,
The atrocities committed by Hamas against the people of Israel are indescribably horrific. In May 2021, dozens of rabbinical students, who have since likely become ordained rabbis, signed a letter condemning Israel for its response to Hamas attacks. The impact of that letter reverberated across America and Israel, echoing loudly at the time.
If you find yourself on the path to becoming a rabbi today, I implore, encourage, and earnestly request that you assemble a new letter condemning the evil, sickening, brutal, barbaric, cruel, immoral, wicked, and senseless killing of innocent Jews.
In Genesis 3:9, God’s first question to humanity was, “Where are you?” Just one chapter later, in Genesis 4:10, God asks, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” These questions should resonate within our hearts as we witness the suffering and violence.
Some of you may believe that the letter sent by those rabbinical students two years ago was appropriate, even in light of recent events. However, I hope that most of you recognize the need for a new letter, one that addresses the current situation. For reasons I may not fully understand, you may have hesitated to send it out. Here is a draft for your upcoming letter:
“We stand with Israel. We affirm that Hamas is a terrorist organization with a single goal: the eradication of the State of Israel and the extermination of Jews worldwide.
We stand with Israel, acknowledging that Hamas bears the responsibility for the tragic loss of innocent lives among both Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel has the fundamental right to defend itself. Anyone who draws any parallels between Israel’s response with Hamas brutality is, in essence, attempting to mask their antisemitism with a false facade of objectivity.
We pray for the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, coexisting in peace side by side.
We pray for the immediate return of captives, the healing of the wounded, and for the souls of the innocent lives lost.
We pray for peace. Am Israel Chai.”
This statement is clear and unequivocal in its message.
You are the future leaders of the Jewish people. We urge you not to delay. Sign it and send it now. Take a stand for peace, justice, and the enduring values of our tradition.
Rabbi Fabian Werbin