Response to the demonstration of the Westboro Baptist Church

Dear  Friends,

Tonight at Shabbat services there will be a demonstration of the hate group, The Westboro Baptist Church.  We will ignore them and join together to mark our holy Shabbat.  But I wish to respond to their hateful messages with a short piece by Elie Wiesel who reflected years ago about the murder of Daniel Pearl, killed by Muslim fanatics in Pakistan.  His last words before he was murdered were, “I am Jewish.”

“Daniel Pearl’s last words are those of a Jew who was assassinated only for his Jewishness. They will resonate in many hearts. They are menat to be an  answer to his murderer’ questions. Why are you here? Why do you oppose terrorism? Why do you denounce injustic? “I am Jewish,” answered Daniel Pearl.

Did he believe that to be Jewish today means what it mean yesterday and a thousand years ago? I do. It means for the Jew in  me to see fulfillment both as a Jew and as a human being.  For a Jew, Judaism and humanity go together. To be Jewish is to recognize that every person is created in God’s image and thus worthy of respect. Being Jewish to me is to reject fanaticism everywhere.”

We reject those hateful people and their convoluted hateful ideas they spew out on their mouths and signs.  We do so aware of the profound insights of our tradition which envision a world free of hate, sensitive to the diginity of each person, and committed to the welfare of all.  In the face of the hatred that walks in front of this holy sanctuary, we respond with a renewed commitment to our convenant with God to repair this broken world. 

Shabbat Shalom

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