We Must Not Stand Idly By: JFS Statement on Buffalo

While we are all reeling from yet another mass shooting targeting innocent lives, we call on our community to reject helplessness as we confront white supremacy and struggle against hatred—a disease of the mind and heart which will continue to afflict our country and our world if we let it.

We know that the shooter was motivated by racist and antisemitic rhetoric which has been terrifyingly embraced by a growing number of leaders in this country. However, our country’s gun laws are also to blame. This was one of three mass shootings that happened in the United States this weekend, within hours of each other. We must continue to stand united in opposition to bigotry in all forms and in support of common-sense gun laws.

Our tradition says we must not stand idly by, but we are commanded to act. It is for each of us as individuals to decide what “not standing idly by” means, but the command is clear. JFS will continue to support all individuals and families in our community, without discrimination, and with a commitment to our highest ideals of creating a space where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued for all they are. We will use our voice to heal and to advocate, and we will walk shoulder to shoulder in mourning, in solidarity and in strength with those who are suffering. While we feel sorrow and anger, we must never lose our collective resolve to make our world a place worthy of our children’s inheritance.

We encourage our community to support organizations engaged in this struggle, alongside JFS, and are grateful for their work including: Civic Commons, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, United Way of King County and Byrd Barr Place.

Our hearts are with the families of those who were killed, and our resolve to continue to act in the face of racism is unwavering.

May the memory of all the victims be a blessing.

Rabbi Will Berkovitz, CEO

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