Julie Schonfeld

Women Rabbis Condemn Trump Hate Speech

Julie Schonfeld
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As Jews around the world complete and begin anew the annual reading of our sacred Torah, we will encounter the creation story with its words that have inspired human beings over millennia to treat each other with kindness and respect: “God created humankind in God’s own image”.

We find these words entirely incompatible with Donald Trump’s concept of the human person and the human body. He has denigrated people by race, by nationality, by their gender and by their most intimate, personal challenges. His callous descriptions of uninvited physical contact and even sexual assault offend our understanding of appropriate relationships between human beings.

Judaism teaches that a person's utterance of words is in fact a powerful deed. Humiliating someone, even privately, and especially publicly, is a serious form of emotional violence that causes tangible harm and is therefore forbidden by our faith. Consequently, we find Donald Trump’s denigration of so many people and groups to be an ongoing assault he perpetually carries out before the entire world. He does this recklessly in the name of our society. As women rabbis and as Jewish leaders in the most sacred and joyous season of our year, we say “not in our names”.

We speak as individuals, as women, as rabbis, as teachers and as role models to young people. We condemn Donald Trump’s behavior and words because they demean women and men, republicans and democrats, Americans and our friends and allies around the world, and people of every race, nationality and religion. Trump’s toxic words erode the integrity of our political institutions, our civic traditions and the customs of civility in public discourse upon which we all rely for our safety and stability.

Jewish experience teaches the immense power of communal traditions that uphold the sacred value of every human being. Tragically, Jewish history has also taught us how rapidly even the most civil societies can spiral into chaos if such values and practices are betrayed. In this most sacred of Jewish seasons, we commit ourselves to working with our fellow Americans and people of good will around the world,and of every faith, nationality and background, to restore and uphold these civic traditions and to strengthen them wherever we can through acts of loving-kindness, respect and humility.

The rabbis listed below are signing in their personal, individual capacity and not on behalf of any organization with which they may be affiliated.

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