Statement from Congregation Dor Hadash on violence and racism
Fighting racism

Statement from Congregation Dor Hadash on violence and racism

The congregation was one of three attacked in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018

(File photo)
(File photo)

Congregation Dor Hadash, one of the three congregations attacked during the anti-Semitic shooting at the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27, 2018, released the following statement on June 13, 2020, in response to the killing of George Floyd, ongoing racism, and violence.

“Congregation Dor Hadash is appalled by the horrific murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the ongoing violence and racism perpetrated against Black people in our nation and our community. We commit to work with all who seek to repair our community and country by dismantling systemic racism and addressing police violence. We do this as part of the Reconstructing Judaism movement. As the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association wrote: ‘As our hearts are broken yet again by the images and stories of the unjustifiable loss of innocent black and brown lives at the hands of law enforcement, the words of the psalmist ring bitterly familiar: “ad matai — how long will this go on?! … How long will you feed your people tears as their daily bread, making them drink great measures of tears?’ (Psalm 80:5-6). This injustice is not just the fault of a few bad cops but of a badly broken policing system.

“Members of our community are privileged to know that, for the most part, our interactions with police will be courteous and we can rely on them to provide needed protection. We want law enforcement to treat every citizen and every community with this degree of respect and dignity. Sadly, we know that for too many of our Black and Brown neighbors this is not the case.

“On June 1st, the Pittsburgh Police shot tear gas into a small group of peaceful protestors on Centre Avenue. Many, including one of our own members, were assaulted and tear-gassed, left choking and gasping for breath. We are appalled by the level of violence visited on citizens peaceably assembled to protest. We welcome the investigation by Mayor Peduto and Police Chief Schubert into this terrible event and ask that the civilian and police leadership assure that policies, training, and practices of front-line officers ensure that they will respect the First Amendment rights of all Pittsburghers to gather and to protest throughout the city.

“We commit to work with advocates for change in the Use of Force policies that guide police action throughout our state and to support efforts of legislators at the local, county, state and federal levels to assure that actions that led to the deaths of George Floyd and Antwon Rose do not recur. Accountability increases the safety of both the public and police officers, and protects the many officers who do their job well and seek to support and serve all citizens with respect.

“Dor Hadash also commits to actively work with others in the Jewish community and the many organizations led by people of color that have long advocated for anti-racist policies and practices to address the consequences of systemic racism that is our nation’s legacy. In the words of the Reconstructing Judaism statement, we do this ‘with the kavanah (intention) of rededicating ourselves to the well-being of Jews of Color and People of Color in our communities.’ We know that we have much to learn and much work to do.” PJC

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