Mourning & Action

Our hearts are heavy.

This past Thursday evening marked the onset of Tu B’Av, the traditional Jewish holiday celebrating love. Yet this year’s Tu B’Av was a day of profound sadness and horror: first, the stabbing of six young people at the annual Pride Parade in Jerusalem by an ultra-Orthodox man, and the next day, the “Price Tag” burning of a Palestinian family’s home in the West Bank while the family slept inside.

We mourn the death of Shira Banki, age 16, who was stabbed while marching to support her LGBT friends in the Jerusalem Pride Parade on Thursday. We mourn the death of Ali Saad Dawabsheh, age 18 months, who was burned to death in his home on Friday.

Words cannot express the sadness and outrage we feel at this time, but we must speak out. We must condemn these acts sickeningly carried out in the name of the Jewish people. We demand that our religious leaders act courageously in the face of hatred that engenders such inhumanity.

Rabbi Benny Lau, a prominent Israeli Orthodox rabbi, spoke powerfully at a rally Saturday night condemning homophobia and nationalist racism. He said, “Our responsibility in the name of Torah…is to create waves and waves of love, to free people from fear.”

As we begin a new week, we pray for the full recovery of the survivors of both attacks and rededicate ourselves to working for a more just and peaceful world.

L’Shalom,

Idit Klein                            Andrew Zelermyer
Executive Director           Chair, Board of Directors

P.S. Please turn to our good friends at the Jerusalem Open House and the New Israel Fund, to learn about their critical work in the wake of these tragedies.

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