Shabbat Reflections, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
As we close out the week, we write to say Shabbat Shalom and reflect on this week filled with news important to the Jewish community: the tragic shooting in New Jersey, the President’s Executive Order about Anti-Semitism, and newly called elections in Israel.
The murder of Mindy Ferencz, Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, Moshe Deutsch, and police Detective Joseph Seals at the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City this week was another tragic incident of antisemitic hatred. The JCRC joins the many voices expressing outrage and sadness at the loss of four lives and the terrifying reality of increased hatred against Jews in our nation.
If you would like to support the families of the victims, you may contribute to The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s fundraising effort here. Every dollar will be passed directly to the families of the four victims.
We also need to remember to maintain awareness in our own community. Jewish Federation of Greater Washington CEO Gil Preuss yesterday reminded every Jewish organization in our area to undertake a security risk assessment. Our JCRC and Federation work hard to protect the safety of our community. But every one of us has a role to play, to ensure our synagogues and institutions have an emergency response plan in place.
Another topic on the minds of many in our community is the Executive Order (EO) signed this week by President Trump, designed to address growing antisemitism on America’s college campuses. The media have covered the EO extensively, and it has been welcomed by mainstream Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), and the Anti-Defamation League.
The Executive order utilizes the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which has been used by the U.S. State Department since 2018. It requires that the Department of Education, when reviewing whether there has been a violation of Title VI, consider an individual's perceived or actual shared Jewish ancestry or Jewish ethnic characteristics as part of its assessment of whether the alleged practice was motivated by antisemitism. Please read the original text of the EO to fully understand the document.
Finally, as we prepare for shabbat, we are following events in Israel closely after an unprecedented third round of elections was announced when Israeli leaders failed to form a governing coalition for the second time this year. The Knesset was dissolved at midnight on Wednesday, and Israelis will again head to the polls on March 2nd. The JCRC will keep you posted as developments unfold.
May you all have a restful, safe and peaceful Shabbat.