To learn about the RS Anti-Racism Work Group, click here.

Statement for Black Lives from Rodeph Shalom Board of Directors and Rodeph Shalom Clergy

Dear Congregants,
Our Talmud inspires us with this teaching: “God creates a single person first, for the sake of peace among humankind that one should not say to the other, ‘My lineage is greater than your lineage; my race is greater than your race.’” Our congregation’s Anti-racism Work Group has, in the past months, and some years before that as well, worked to do the sustained work of anti-racism in ourselves, our community, and our world. The more we learn from this work, the more we understand we are compelled to state publicly, Black Lives Matter. Our Board of Directors shares this statement:
As a multiracial Congregation whose vision is guided by enduring Jewish values and compelled to moral action:
We believe these values require us to see every person as “created in the image of God,” to stand for others and ourselves as justice surely requires;
We believe that alleviating others’ suffering is part of our collective responsibility;
We see members of our community and beyond, who are systemically deprived of equality because of the color of their skin;
We see a Black community that has been discriminated against in this country for centuries without a proper reckoning;
We will not ignore the plight or struggle of any people who are oppressed by racial inequity, and we faithfully commit to racial justice, within and beyond the Jewish community.
We recognize that this cause transcends any organization;
and that all people deserve respect and support.
We affirm:  Black Lives Matter.  
In addition to our commitment to the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement, we commit to the condemnation of anti-semitism and of homophobia, sexism and any other forms of discrimination when they surface in this or in any cause. In all areas of justice work and solidarity, we seek to bring the entirety of Jewish values to the table. 
Rodeph Shalom Board of Directors and Rodeph Shalom Clergy


“Access to the Blessing: George Floyd, Our Privilege, and White Supremacy”: Rabbi Jill Maderer’s D’var Torah Delivered on June 5


Anti-Racism Statement in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death

The divine image has been diminished by the recent unconscionable killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed, Tony McDade, and countless others, manifestations of systemic racism that has for many years pervaded the education, justice, economic, and healthcare systems, and now COVID-19 trends of our city and nation. Jewish tradition teaches: “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof/justice, justice you shall pursue.” We are responsible for the learning, the listening, and the action that will lead to justice.
The destruction and looting now present in our city bring yet another layer of loss and fear to an already challenging season of pandemic in our lives. We are thinking of our Rodeph Shalom family with love and prayers for safety. 
Our clergy is in conversation with multi-faith leaders and clergy of color, and we recommend learning from these thinkers to guide our anti-racist actions: 
1) How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
3) Talking to Kids about Race, National Geographic 
May we be safe and may we be inspired to do good in our very broken world.
Rabbi Jill Maderer
Rabbi Eli Freedman
Henry B. Bernstein, President