The Oregon Board of Rabbis is an organization supporting the rabbis of Oregon and Southwest Washington in their work on behalf of the greater Jewish community. We are comprised of rabbis ordained from across the spectrum of Jewish life and observance. Our members serve in synagogues, communal organizations and elsewhere throughout the community. We are committed to K’lal Yisrael, the unity of the Jewish people, and seek to enrich Jewish lives and communities spiritually and educationally.

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Oregon Board of Rabbis statement on the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd

“Justice, Justice shall you pursue, that you may live” (Deut 16.20) is a central ethic of the Jewish people.

Too often victims ourselves at the hands of uniformed representatives of the state, we Jews know that state power can be abused by unethical individuals, and we decry the murder of George Floyd, like so many others unjustly deprived of their lives, and thus of the promised rights of every resident of the United States of America to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In the face of injustice at the hands of white supremacists, we declare that we cannot be silent, and we will not be moved. We call upon the governing bodies of our neighborhoods, counties and state to respond to the police violence and murder, to the ongoing injustice of unequal protection before the law with a renewed effort to hear the anguished voices of our Black neighbors, and to respond with compassion and with the application of equal justice under law to their fear and their agony.

לְ֭מַעַן בֵּית־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ אֲבַקְשָׁ֖ה ט֣וֹב לָֽךְ׃ לְ֭מַעַן אַחַ֣י וְרֵעָ֑י אֲדַבְּרָה־נָּ֖א שָׁל֣וֹם בָּֽךְ׃

For the sake of my kin and friends,  I pray for your well-being;

for the sake of the house of our God, I seek your good. (Psalm 127)

Destruction of property is always regretful, but destruction of human life is an incalculable loss. We call upon all those who love peace to join with us in the declaration that peace must include safety, bodily integrity, and human decency for us all. Peace must include justice for the most targeted among us, or it is not peace.

We call upon all those elected representatives of our communities, all those entrusted with the good and welfare of all our neighbors and friends, to redouble your efforts to ensure that “justice will burst forth like a mighty flood stream, and righteousness like a flash flood” (Amos 5.24) sweeping away all evil in its path.

We decry police brutality and use of lethal force, flash bangs, tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons of war. We also call for an end to the relationship between the Portland police and the military, particularly purchasing surplus military equipment.

We join with Black justice seekers and will work for an end to White Supremacy, White Nationalism and all forms of anti-Black oppression, including mass incarceration, broken windows policing, and the war on drugs.

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