A letter to our fellow Jews on equality and liberal values

 A list of signatories are displayed below the letter.

A letter to our fellow Jews on equality and liberal values

A letter to our fellow Jews on equality and liberal values

The American Jewish community is facing a challenge to the liberal principles that have long defined Jewish civic life and America’s democratic tradition.

Among our country’s blessings is an unparalleled protection of freedom of expression. This freedom is among the essential tools by which American minorities––including Jews––have made progress in advancing the causes of equality and justice.

Today this freedom is being threatened. An ideology is taking hold across the country that insists there is only one way to look at the problems we face, and those who disagree must be silenced.

This suppression of dissent violates the core Jewish value of open discourse. Jewish tradition cherishes debate, respects disagreement, and values questions as well as answers. In ancient times, the Beit Midrash––the House of Study––encouraged
passionate argument “for the sake of heaven.”

Jewish tradition has also long insisted that we only judge and be judged by our own deeds. “A son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself,
and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20). The dominant social justice ideology, however, holds that individuals bear collective moral guilt or innocence based on the current conception of group identity.

Because this dominant narrative creates a worldview in which groups are only oppressors or oppressed, it encourages pernicious notions of “Jewish privilege,” even implicating Jews in “white supremacy.” This presents many Jews with an impossible set of political choices.

On issues of racial justice, powerful groups in the Jewish world have foreclosed the usual deliberative process. Rarely do Jewish organizations encourage discussions that include differing perspectives, even from within the Black community. In some cases,
Jewish leaders have even denounced Jews for expressing unpopular opinions.

America was born with what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. termed a “birth defect,” continuing the institution of slavery decades after the nation’s founding. Through Reconstruction and Jim Crow, America continually failed to live up to its ideals, engaging in
rampant discrimination and the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. Despite substantial progress since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, much remains to be done to right the profound injustices of America’s legacy of racism.

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, many Americans, including American Jews, redoubled efforts to create a more just society. But the way to fight racism is not to do away with essential tools. The way to fight racism isn’t to cease discussion and debate.
To do so is antithetical to American ideals and antithetical to Judaism. The way to fight racism is to insist on our common humanity––and to engage in dialogue, including with those who dissent. That is what Judaism demands.

We members of the Jewish community add our voices to the growing chorus supporting our liberal principles, opposing the imposition of ideology, encouraging open discussions of challenging topics, and committing to achieving a more just America.

Original Signatories

Bion Bartning | Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR)
Emily Barton | Des Moines
David L. Bernstein | Founder, Jewish Institute for Liberal Values
David E. Bernstein | University Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Daniel Bouskila | Rabbi, Sephardic Educational Center
D. Malcolm Carson | Pacifica, California
Mona Charen | Policy Editor, The Bulwark
Eliot Cohen | Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
(for identification purposes only)
Mark Dratch | Executive Vice President, Rabbinical Council of America, New York, NY
Joel Finkelstein | Director Network Contagion Research Institute
Blake Flayton | Co-founder, New Zionist Congress
Daniel Gordis | Shalem College; Jerusalem, Israel
Jonathan Greenberg | Jack Miller Family Foundation
Jonathan Haidt | New York University - Stern School of Business
Samantha Harris | Samantha K. Harris, Esq., Philadelphia, Pa.
Moshe Hauer | Executive Vice President, Orthodox Union
David Ingber | Founder and Senior Rabbi, Romemu
Lee Jussim | Distinguished Professor of Psychology
David Kaufman | Rabbi, Des Moines, Iowa
James Kirchick | Writer
Ben Kramer | Rabbi, Moriah Congregation, Deerfield, Illinois
Josh Kraushaar | Annandale, VA
Liel Leibovitz | Editor at Large, Tablet Magazine, New York, NY
Yuval Levin | American Enterprise Institute
Holli Levitsky | Los Angeles, CA
Nicole Levitt | Domestic Violence Attorney Philadelphia, PA
Bethany Mandel | Editor, Ricochet and Columnist, Forward; Silver Spring, MD
Seth Mandel | Executive Editor, Washington Examiner magazine
Daniel Newman | Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, Columbus, OH
Monica Osborne | Writer and Scholar of Jewish Studies
Pamela Paresky | Psychologist
Steven Pinker | Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Scott Roland | Rabbi, Scott B. Roland, Beachwood, Ohio
Thane Rosenbaum | Distinguished University Professor, Touro College, New York, NY
Dave Rubin | The Rubin Report
Jeffrey Salkin | Rabbi, Temple Israel, West Palm Beach, FL
Hal Schevitz | Rabbi, Congregation Or Atid, Henrico, VA
Ira Sheskin | Hollywood, FL
Maxim D. Shrayer | Brookline & South Chatham, MA
Abigail Shrier | Independent Journalist
Joshua Snitzer | Student Leader
Christina Hoff Sommers | Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Bret Stephens | Op-ed columnist, The New York Times
Nadine Strossen | John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita, New York Law School - New York, NY
Izabella Tabarovsky | Scholar, writer/journalist
Gil Troy | Distinguished Scholar of North American History, McGill University
Aaron Weil | Executive director and CEO Central Florida Hillel, Orlando Fla
Eric Weinstein Ph.D. | Host of The Portal Podcast / Managing Director, Thiel Capital
Bari Weiss | Los Angeles
David Wolpe | Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
Cathy Young | Arc Digital

Concerned Friends of The American Jewish Community (Signatories)

Adv. Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Former Member of Knesset
Michael Oren | Former ambassador, MK, Deputy Minister, Jewish Journalist/Writer
Natan Sharansky | Former Head of the Jewish Agency

%%your signature%%

947 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

The American Jewish community is facing a challenge to the liberal principles that have long defined Jewish civic life and America’s democratic tradition.

Among our country’s blessings is an unparalleled protection of freedom of expression. This freedom is among the essential tools by which American minorities––including Jews––have made progress in advancing the causes of equality and justice.

Today this freedom is being threatened. An ideology is taking hold across the country that insists there is only one way to look at the problems we face, and those who disagree must be silenced.

This suppression of dissent violates the core Jewish value of open discourse. Jewish tradition cherishes debate, respects disagreement, and values questions as well as answers. In ancient times, the Beit Midrash––the House of Study––encouraged passionate argument “for the sake of heaven.”

Jewish tradition has also long insisted that we only judge and be judged by our own deeds. “A son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20). The dominant social justice ideology, however, holds that individuals bear collective moral guilt or innocence based on the current conception of group identity.

Because this dominant narrative creates a worldview in which groups are only oppressors or oppressed, it encourages pernicious notions of “Jewish privilege,” even implicating Jews in “white supremacy.” This presents many Jews with an impossible set of political choices.

On issues of racial justice, powerful groups in the Jewish world have foreclosed the usual deliberative process. Rarely do Jewish organizations encourage discussions that include differing perspectives, even from within the Black community. In some cases, Jewish leaders have even denounced Jews for expressing unpopular opinions.

America was born with what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. termed a “birth defect,” continuing the institution of slavery decades after the nation’s founding. Through Reconstruction and Jim Crow, America continually failed to live up to its ideals, engaging in rampant discrimination and the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. Despite substantial progress since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, much remains to be done to right the profound injustices of America’s legacy of racism.

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, many Americans, including American Jews, redoubled efforts to create a more just society. But the way to fight racism is not to do away with essential tools. The way to fight racism isn’t to cease discussion and debate.

To do so is antithetical to American ideals and antithetical to Judaism. The way to fight racism is to insist on our common humanity––and to engage in dialogue, including with those who dissent. That is what Judaism demands.

We members of the Jewish community add our voices to the growing chorus supporting our liberal principles, opposing the imposition of ideology, encouraging open discussions of challenging topics, and committing to achieving a more just America.

Original Signatories

Bion Bartning | Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR)
Emily Barton | Des Moines
David L. Bernstein | Founder, Jewish Institute for Liberal Values
David E. Bernstein | University Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Daniel Bouskila | Rabbi, Sephardic Educational Center
D. Malcolm Carson | Pacifica, California
Mona Charen | Policy Editor, The Bulwark
Eliot Cohen | Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
(for identification purposes only)
Mark Dratch | Executive Vice President, Rabbinical Council of America, New York, NY
Joel Director Network Contagion Research Institute
Blake Flayton | Co-founder, New Zionist Congress
Daniel Gordis | Shalem College; Jerusalem, Israel
Jonathan Greenberg | Jack Miller Family Foundation
Jonathan Haidt | New York University - Stern School of Business
Samantha Harris | Samantha K. Harris, Esq., Philadelphia, Pa.
Moshe Hauer | Executive Vice President, Orthodox Union
David Ingber | Founder and Senior Rabbi, Romemu
Lee Jussim | Distinguished Professor of Psychology
David Kaufman | Rabbi, Des Moines, Iowa
James Kirchick | Writer
Ben Kramer | Rabbi, Moriah Congregation, Deerfield, Illinois
Josh Kraushaar | Annandale, VA
Liel Leibovitz | Editor at Large, Tablet Magazine, New York, NY
Yuval Levin | American Enterprise Institute
Holli Levitsky | Los Angeles, CA

Nicole Levitt | Domestic Violence Attorney Philadelphia, PA
Bethany Mandel | Editor, Ricochet and Columnist, Forward; Silver Spring, MD
Seth Mandel | Executive Editor, Washington Examiner magazine
Daniel Newman | Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, Columbus, OH
Monica Osborne | Writer and Scholar of Jewish Studies
Pamela Paresky | Psychologist
Steven Pinker | Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Scott Roland | Rabbi, Scott B. Roland, Beachwood, Ohio
Thane Rosenbaum | Distinguished University Professor, Touro College, New York, NY
Dave Rubin | The Rubin Report
Jeffrey Salkin | Rabbi, Temple Israel, West Palm Beach, FL
Hal Schevitz | Rabbi, Congregation Or Atid, Henrico, VA
Ira Sheskin | Hollywood, FL
Maxim D. Shrayer | Brookline & South Chatham, MA
Abigail Shrier | Independent Journalist
Joshua Snitzer | Student Leader
Christina Hoff Sommers | Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Bret Stephens | Op-ed columnist, The New York Times
Nadine Strossen | John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita, New York Law School - New York, NY
Izabella Tabarovsky | Scholar, writer/journalist
Gil Troy | Distinguished Scholar of North American History, McGill University
Aaron Weil | Executive director and CEO Central Florida Hillel, Orlando Fla
Eric Weinstein Ph.D. | Host of The Portal Podcast / Managing Director, Thiel Capital
Bari Weiss | Los Angeles
David Wolpe | Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
Cathy Young | Arc Digital

Concerned Friends of The American Jewish Community (Signatories)

Adv. Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Former Member of Knesset
Michael Oren | Former ambassador, MK, Deputy Minister, Jewish Journalist/Writer
Natan Sharansky | Former Head of the Jewish Agency

Institutions are listed for identification purposes only.

Signatories

Latest Signatures
947 Clyde Friedman Melville, New York Psychoanalyst Jun 17, 2021
946 Sarita Bronstein Mountain View, CA Jun 17, 2021
945 Rich Robinson South San Francisco, California Jun 15, 2021
944 Debbie Friedman Melville, NY Temple Beth David Jun 13, 2021
943 Arturo Lopez-Levy fremont, CA Holy Names University Jun 11, 2021
942 MARK ROSENTRAUB ANN ARBOR, MI University of Michigan Jun 08, 2021
941 Carolyn Dinofsky Northbrook, IL I'm a docent at the Illinois Holocaust Museum Jun 08, 2021
940 Harvey Finkelstein Dix Hills, Ny Dix Hills JC Jun 07, 2021
939 Judith Davis Huntington, New York Kehillath Shalom Synagogue Jun 07, 2021
938 Martin Weinstein San Jose, CA Jun 07, 2021
937 Jon Levinson San Carlos, Select State Jun 07, 2021
936 Dan Fendel Piedmont, CA Jun 07, 2021
935 Laura Sigura San Jose, CA Jun 07, 2021
934 Jonathan Wornick Lafayette, CA AIPAC Jun 07, 2021
933 Anne Storm San Mateo, CA Jun 07, 2021
932 Sara Miller Forest Hills, NY Jun 07, 2021
931 Norman Licht San Carlos, CA Jun 07, 2021
930 david milgram LOS ALTOS HLS, CA Jun 06, 2021
929 Anita Rosenfield Sedona, Arizona Other Jun 06, 2021
928 Joanne Donsky Portola Valley, CA Jun 06, 2021
927 Sheree Roth PALO ALTO, CA Jun 06, 2021
926 David Steinberg Toronto, Ontario Jun 04, 2021
925 Scott Moore Glen Alen, VA Jun 02, 2021
924 Robert Friedman Teaneck Township, NJ Jun 02, 2021
923 Gregory Cohen Bethesda, MD Jun 01, 2021
922 Galya Greenberg West Hartford, CT Jun 01, 2021
921 David Rosenberg Norfolk, MA Jun 01, 2021
920 Eliot Malomet Highland Park, New Jersey May 31, 2021
919 Lewis Book Los Angeles, CA May 31, 2021
918 Marvin Koss Syracuse, NY SUNY Upstate Medical University May 31, 2021
917 Julia Rafsky Philadelphia, PA May 31, 2021
916 Michael Roberts Hollywood, FL May 28, 2021
915 NORMAN LEWIS WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI Wayne State University May 27, 2021
914 Laura Beck Highland Park, NJ May 25, 2021
913 Myriam Miedzian La Jolla, CA May 24, 2021
912 Alan Dershowitz Boston, MA May 23, 2021
911 Amy Graiwer Los Angeles, CA May 22, 2021
910 Leonard Aksen Hackensack, New Jersey May 22, 2021
909 Michael Abramson Mountain View, California May 21, 2021
908 Ronna Ross Bloomfield Village, MI May 21, 2021
907 Leonid Kelner LEESBURG, VA May 21, 2021
906 Anya Spector Forest Hills, NY May 21, 2021
905 Lori Barak San Anselmo, CA May 20, 2021
904 Nolan Lebovitz Los Angeles, CA Adat Shalom May 20, 2021
903 Michael Gross College Point, NY May 20, 2021
902 EJ Epstein San Francisco, California May 20, 2021
901 Linda Shecter Nashville , Tn May 20, 2021
900 Irene Gofman Bronx, NY May 19, 2021
899 Leida Rosenberg New York, NY May 19, 2021
898 Ella Rinecathe Colorado Springs, CO May 19, 2021